921 Writing Prompts About Thanksgiving

921 Writing Prompts About Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to celebrate all the things you are thankful for. But, as a writer, you shouldn’t forget to use the occasion to brainstorm for inspiration for your next novel or short story.

With all that is happening on this busy day, from watching the parade and playing football with your hometown friends to volunteering at the soup kitchen and attending thanksgiving dinner at your parent’s house, you’ll surely get plenty of ideas. But, in case you don’t get any inspiration, you do not have to worry. Here are writing prompts about thanksgiving to help you out:     

  • You smile the best fake smile you can muster as you say goodbye to your customers. Even while you’re getting ready for bed, though, you can feel it again — that twitching in your jaw.
  • You advise your friend — who may or may not have murdered that townsperson — to confess all his sins to a priest. But, no matter how hard you try, he refuses.
  • You check and re-check and re-re-check the edges of your bed sheets trying to make sure you’re the only one there and then totally freak out thinking there’s something under your bed when you’re asleep.
  • You’re sitting in your car in the parking lot when you suddenly feel uneasy. You can tell something is wrong. Your instincts kick into overdrive.
  • While out camping, you notice a strange hooded figure running through the woods. You single the figure out, following at a distance. Your foot suddenly plunges into a deep, very familiar hole.
  • You are waiting for the man to arrive. You have everything ready. Your heart is pounding through your chest. You have had this idea for a long time but aren’t too sure. You could be giving up one life for another. He could make you do the things you shouldn’t do. You feel your skin crawl with anxiety.
  • An email arrives at your desk with instructions. If you follow the steps precisely, you will have the opportunity to save the life of the one you love. The steps are precise and must be followed. Should you follow or not?
  • You’re cruising along on your high performance bike but you fall off. You’ve damaged yourself so that you’ll never ride again.
  • Your character hears a strange noise. He is the only one home. His doors are locked. His windows are locked. His damp grip tightens around the object he keeps concealed in his back pocket in case of emergency – you know what he imagines might be threatening him.
  • You open your front door and find yourself face to face with the scariest person in the world — you.
  • Your life is torn apart after burning a candle to give yourself a womanly shape in order to impress your girlfriend’s father.
  • Hiding in the shadows, you claw away with your fingernails at the duct tape, hoping to tear it away to freedom – but too soon, your escape is thwarted when you hear the small child cry out.
  • You put your feet up on the coffee table and lean back, just a moment before you notice a pile of pixels perfectly positioned to give you a nerve racking video game generated thrill.
  • One line is a button, the next a hazard, and the last a promise. You have to thread your way through.
  • It was the first time you’d seen the gun. It was the first time you’d wondered if you might need to shoot it.
  • The fire alarms go off and you run to the nearest exit. When you get there, you find that it’s locked, too.
  • Between waking and dreaming, where do characters go? How does that transform their identity? Where does it fit in the overall story arc?
  • When you slept last night, the door to your bedroom had been locked and bolted. But when you woke up, you found that the door had been unlocked — and you were missing $2,000.
  • You watch someone stealthy climb over your apartment building’s balcony railing and sneak into your bedroom.
  • You’re enjoying a long drive and think you deserve some self-indulgence. So, you pull over into a secluded rest stop, put on a disguise, change into someone else’s clothes, and slip out unnoticed. You finally walk into the nearest gas station, pay for your gas with cash, and tell people in the next line exactly what happened. Which really sets them on edge.
  • You’re in your jeep and decide to pull the car to the side of the road when you notice someone standing on the edge of a bridge. What do you do?
  • Your date takes out a skeleton key and slowly unlocks a large padlock around her neck. But she can’t take it off.
  • Someone from your past sits next to you on the bus. After a few moments of pleasantries, they tell you they want something.
  • How long can you hold your breath? The killer promised he wouldn’t come, but then you entertain the thought that maybe he enjoys toying with people before ending their life.
  • You are sent on a mission to investigate a potentially strange occurrence. But everything you find suggests that it’s all too normal.
  • You find yourself at the center of a conspiracy, a conspiracy in the middle of a much larger conspiracy. How high are you up the totem pole?
  • You awaken in some sort of holding cell, with a gun to your head and a countdown on a screen on the opposite wall.
  • Horrors of war flash before your eyes, despite warnings that battle sounds don’t affect your hearing.
  • It’s the big day and you’re getting ready, looking bridal from head to toe in the mirror. But somehow you feel wrong — you suddenly want to change everything.
  • You’re living an idyllic life on an isolated farm, but something isn’t right in your location. What is it?
  • An old volunteer friend from your childhood sees you on the streets. She’s no longer the cute girl you once knew — she’s now a murderer and needs your help to get rid of some pesky evidence.
  • You walk down the street and catch movement out of the corner of your eye. Now you notice — the other people around you are all staring at you.
  • The detectives stare at the empty grave, never thinking it would be this easy, nor named John Smith.
  • Your best friend just called, and he said not to worry about when he’d be home. But you already know he’ll never come back.
  • You fly into a small remote airport only to discover it is closed. The area around the airport is supposed to be uninhabited, but the sight of three people watching you from afar has you unnerved.
  • You happen upon a hidden room that’s been locked for years, but your key works just fine. What do you find inside?
  • What secrets go along with running this facility, and why will some people kill to keep those secrets hidden?
  • You’ve been running for miles, your lungs are beginning to burn, and all you know is that you have to find somewhere safe.
  • Your dog just did something thoughtless. He attacked someone in the middle of the street . . . and that someone wasn’t someone who was likely to report the attack.
  • The stars have aligned. Summon and prepare everything in your arsenal or witchcraft — because it is about to change the world.
  • You’re late and you run into an elevator. You hurriedly tap your toes on the floor but there is no floor in your typically safe sanctuary.
  • There’s a hunch in the back of your mind. An idea that someone is watching you…but you’re unable to concentrate on it.
  • You’re waking up in the morning and find that your reflection in your mirror has been replaced with that of someone else.
  • You’re sitting in court, and your designated advocate keeps interrupting to show how clever he is. You’d be really cross if you weren’t up on trial for your life.
  • Your apartment is currently on the market, and you just remembered there’s a dead body buried beneath your floor.
  • Your friend has gone missing, and you’re holding their last conversation with you inside your head. What happens when you spill it all?
  • You open the door to your house to find a striking, attractive man in an expensive suit waiting on your porch.
  • Golden faces fill your rooms, offering to touch you. When your friends ask what they desire, their voices are shrill, cold, and dead.
  • For the second time in a year, someone is asking you out on a date.  But the first date ended badly.  Who is this person, and what does he or she want?
  • For a long time, you refused to listen to the words being whispered to you late at night. That’s changed.
  • Your best friend, roommate, twin sister — someone you know has never met him before — has killed somebody. He is going to call the cops. What will you do to stop him?
  • Suddenly, all the doors in your house lock and the windows lock shut. You try to escape but you can’t. Then, you notice a troll doll sitting on your counter clapping its hands.
  • You’ve just found $100 lying on the street, and so you accept the challenge to prevent the anonymous Donor from finding it.
  • In your dream you were pursued by a killer, but this killer had a polite, implacable smile carved into a face that had been sewn together from other faces.
  • At the top of a very high building, you pause on the ledge and look down. How far would you be willing to go to save yourself from falling?
  • Fresh powder, puffy snow, blue sky, snow-based fun, oh yeah, you got the day off. But then you find footprints.
  • You wake you up in the middle of the night to tell you there’s a bomb in your house with a timer counting down.
  • You hear the soft creak of footsteps behind you and know that someone or something is following you.
  • She hears the school bus approaching even though she’s inside. She can see her brother bobbing his head in the window. Why can’t she open the door?
  • Maura is standing in a stall in the restroom, when the person in the neighboring stall begins crying. She knocks on the stall and offers to help… if she can.
  • It is the dull clink of the metal chain, the resistant jerk of the body, the periodical stop of the swing, the whir of the engine prolonging its labors interminably, that go on, with never a variation, through the whole of the dreadful hour or two which adds a decade to a man’s life.
  • You’re at the grocery store picking out a color of lipstick when you hear a slow clap behind you. You turn around and find no one there. Are you paranoid?
  • You love your wife, but what happens when you two are kidnapped and she chooses one of her captors over you?
  • You’ve had a strange night. You stayed up later than normal, and, when you went to bed, you noticed that you were no longer alone.
  • You become increasingly paranoid that the tasty chocolate cake you brought for your grandparents is poisoned.
  • The distant stars twinkled, catching you off guard. How was it possible that they shone so brightly when, according to everyone, we were alone in the universe?
  • You stand alone on the subway platform, but something’s wrong. The train is coming faster than it should.
  • You don’t remember who you are or how you got there — but it only takes you one glance at the metal links leaving a fresh bloody trail in your hand to realize…
  • Your toddler just won’t stop crying, and you don’t know what to do to get him to sleep. But you have an idea.
  • You have lived your life following rules and playing by the book — that is until the day you decided to skip the lines, boarding the plane first.
  • Bright fluorescent lights illuminate the small diner. You lean against the wall, taking refuge in the shadows.
  • You’re sitting in the den, watching TV, when you notice the shadows start to create patterns in the ceiling. You laugh it off — at first.
  • Suddenly, you’re the prime suspect in a stranger’s murder. You don’t know why — no one saw you there and you left no trace of evidence. But you are missing the scarf you wore there. Could you have gotten blood on it?
  • You are trapped in a room with a bloody dead body and no way out. Who killed him? How did it happen? What are you going to do if his killer is still there now?
  • Someone is trying to cross the street, but it is as if every time they get ready to, the countdown starts again.
  • You find yourself in a pitch-black basement, and luckily you have a torch. You have to find your way out away from the ghostly footsteps of the man they say walks the basements of that house.
  • A police officer bangs on your door. You immediately know something is wrong and you also know you’re the murderer.
  • You’ve come back to the 60’s. Your parents have put together a new hippie commune outside of town. Your mom and dad are talking to you about hanging out in town to make some extra cash for the commune. You can see the profit the town would get out of that kind of convention, but you really need some money for your codeine habit. What do you do?
  • A good friend is trying to get you to come to a party, but you have to work early and you just can’t apologize for it again. You can’t think of a way to get out of it gracefully, and you’re worried your friend might get upset.
  • Your girlfriend says she’s going to meet a stranger. They told her she could earn an easy 50 dollars. What will you do?
  • You were taking some time away from the apartment so that you could clear your mind. But when you’re packing to go, you can’t help but think that you forgot something. You check the entire bag — twice. Before leaving your residence, you grab a couple of spare objects to leave as reminders for yourself. But when you’re back in your apartment, in this much safer environment, you can’t help but wonder — what’s really going to keep you safe?
  • Even though Tina “outsmarted” Ted and won the million dollar prize, she’s still having nightmares. Why?
  • A child’s room is untouched, but it’s clear that a child never really lived there. As you look around, slowly, you notice the teddy bear crumbling into ash and the nearby lamp exploding. When you turn around to escape, your way is blocked by a child who seems to have been dead for a while.
  • The man looked you in the eye and you could see right through him, but you couldn’t see his true self — the true face that was hiding behind his cold, soulless eyes…
  • The world cruelly fakes you out of everything you ever wanted, and the universe punishes you for it.
  • You cautiously enter the dark building, and it’s empty. But you’re certain you heard something. What is it?
  • Can we talk? According to you, it was over with your spouse three months ago. According to them, there’s something you should know. Your spouse is dead. You’ve got a handprint spiral scar around your neck. How’d that happen?
  • You fear your sister will kill you for your inheritance, so you hire a private investigator to keep tabs on her, but they report much more than what’s expected.
  • While looking for a new place to rent, you notice the most perfect apartment. When you schedule an appointment with the leasing agent to view the apartment, she starts getting in and out of her car a lot during the appointment and you notice her blacked out windows. What happens next?
  • You’re reading your favorite book when suddenly you notice something moving by the window. What do you see?
  • You’re the only person in a room full of people. Suddenly you realize that everyone but you is dead.
  • You’re up the spout. A child that is not yours has been left on your doorstep. You have no choice but to look after it, but you are all alone in this. This house is equipped with the modern conveniences of the ‘20s and the only thing you know how to take care of is a bonsai tree, your daughter is gone and you’re being told by your aunt that you have cancer, but you’ve been feeling fine. What happens next?
  • You’re sitting in a restaurant, having a quiet meal. In the opposite corner, a man stabs his fork into his steak and then cuts off a piece and chews it. He spits out the piece and looks over at you with… milky eyes.
  • You’re sitting in a cafe with a friend and suddenly — sirens. How do they become a distraction, and an intruder?
  • You are in trouble. Someone is chasing you. You run into a house, where your neighbor has just died of a heart attack. Who is running after you — killer or victim?
  • As you insert your key into the door of your bedroom, a sense of dread is already beginning to grow inside of you.
  • While fixing dinner in the kitchen, you hear a knock on the door. Listen carefully and you realize no one is there.
  • Somewhere, there is a small secret place no one has defiled. In this place is a small, dry branch no one has broken off. On this branch, there are some strips of something soft and oily. Alongside these strips of paper is a clean piece of paper, uncorrupted by time and fingers, pristine, with black symbols. If you can find the place and retrieve these riches, you can have everything they represent. You’ll be able to live the dream, the one you’ve had for as long as you can remember.
  • Every night before you go to sleep you check the locks on all of your doors and windows. It’s become a ritual since you—
  • You’re walking down a quiet street when five masked men blindside you with baseball bats. Why did they choose you?
  • Someone knocks on your door. You slowly open it, but there is no one there, and you can’t figure out why anyone would knock on the door.
  • You know that you should give the evil gift back, and that you should run from the screaming voice, but you just can’t find the strength to do so.
  • You open your eyes to find yourself in a holding cell. Your neighbor coos to you, “Will it work this time?”
  • It’s flag night and everyone from the neighborhood pitches in to start the raised flag. But you don’t know where to go next.
  • You’ve been waiting an hour for a meeting, but you’re not supposed to meet the person you’ve just been talking to.
  • You went to bed earlier than usual last night. Unfortunately, you cannot recall how you ended up in the darkness.
  • You inherited a house from your grandparents. You find a strange black egg hidden inside an ordinary-looking chest. What do you do?
  • The stranger presses a finger to his lips and shakes his head from side to side. You can hear your heartbeat pounding inside your chest, and you’re terrified.
  • You have to pick something up at an all-night pharmacy and you know that there is someone familiar inside.
  • You just buried your wife and children. Now a hooded figure in a parking lot makes a proposition that may or may not be from the afterlife.
  • In a dystopian world where human emotions are considered a crime, one family struggles to keep their ties to each other as they’re split apart, one by one.
  • You are surrounded by endless possibilities. Your job is to walk down each row and check off all the possibilities that won’t work.
  • As you hurriedly fall to the ground, your vision clearing from the tear gas, you see the shadows of a hundred men ready to finish you off.
  • You live a normal life — but a normal life you’ve lived for a long time. After a thousand years, you still as you always have on the day you first aged. How do you survive?
  • Someone called you on the phone and told you she was coming over, so you prepare a cup of tea in your black-and-white kitchen and clean the floors. Then there’s a knock on your door.
  • The people in your court are dying in horrible ways, and you must find out who is behind it all before it’s too late.
  • You are sitting in front of your computer, typing away, when you get the chills. You look up and see someone behind you. They say they’re not going to hurt you … but what if they are lying?
  • Your husband receives a call to go into work, but he never makes it to work. What is it the cops find in your backyard?
  • You step off the train into the familiarly dilapidated station and start the twenty minutes until the next train. Somehow you have extra energy today.
  • You have a creepy neighbor who stares at you. On this night, you find yourself creeping through her window. What do you see?
  • You’re watching a movie, completely engrossed, when somebody shoots your partner and then shoots you. What happens next?
  • When you hear knocking on your front door, you rush to the bathroom and lock yourself in, knowing that this might be the end.
  • You hear a sound like someone stirring a bowl with a spoon, soft but also methodical—and it’s getting closer and closer to the front door. What do you do?
  • You opened your shop when you realized it cost less to convince the customers to stay than it did to pay them to leave.
  • You’re asleep, only to wake at 2 am to find a dark figure silently waiting to help you reflect on something.
  • A girl is sitting alone in an auditorium. Suddenly, she loses consciousness because of a noise with no apparent source.
  • You feel a strange sensation of cold sweat begin to form in the crooks of your elbows, quietly and gradually descending down your sides.
  • Everything in you was telling you to stop. Yet your fingers hovered over the dial, preparing to turn back time.
  • You suddenly see a guy in a trenchcoat on the edge of the park who didn’t show up on your ultra-high-tech spy satellite.
  • You find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings. In fact, everything looks, feels, and sounds unfamiliar.
  • Someone knocks on your door, but when you answer, you only see a note — which reads, You’d better lock your doors.
  • Someone left a deck of cards in the hall table, and the top one has hand-written letters and a few dry leaves stuck to it.
  • A conspiracy theorist rings your doorbell and insists on telling you about the schemes involving extraterrestrials.
  • Carissa O’Keefe’s “Before You Sleep” is an example of thriller writing that scores high in both humor and romance.
  • You drive down a mysterious road with a sense of foreboding filling every crevice of your body. Suddenly, someone steps out in front of you — and is never seen again.
  • A telegram arrives with your name on it, and the first words are “the end is here.” What happens next?
  • While contemplating the portrait of your great-grandfather, you discover a secret about your family.
  • Every time you stand up, someone gives you a new task to perform, telling you it will be easier later. Eventually, they start to fade until you can’t make out their instructions anymore.
  • On a foggy day, when visibility is low, you notice a stranger spying on you from across the street. He just stands there as if he’s in a trance. But you can see that his hand is slowly and deliberately moving beneath his coat.
  • You’re dreaming and suddenly come across someone you’re sure you’re related to but can’t seem to situate. You’ve forgotten how to reach out to them. What do you do?
  • You dozed off at your desk, and you wake up to see a note sitting in your email box. The words seem to jump out at you, the letters projecting their message directly into your consciousness. Fear ripples through you — should you heed the message’s ominous instructions, or should you heed your rational mind and disregard the note?
  • A strange man approaches you on the street and asks if he can borrow your cell phone. You don’t own one.
  • You’re the CEO of Mega-Foods. You’ve just received a letter saying development on the talking dog prototype has been discontinued. Things are not going well.
  • You just got hired at a salon. Today might be your first day, but you already feel your heart sink when you hear the name on the salon’s door.
  • You can tell yourself that the noise downstairs was the house settling, but something about it still seems out of place.
  • In the middle of a crowd, there is a scream. You see one small person on the ground, and panicked voices around them.
  • Your office is closed for the weekend and there’s an unspoken rule to never leave a light on in the building overnight. Your light is on when you return. What do you do?
  • You are part of an elite undercover unit that is trained to protect lives at all costs. Your newest mission involves rescuing a group of high school students from a sniper.
  • You’re in a national park in a cave you found. Now the jaws of something are gripping the side of the cave.
  • A man watched someone walk purposefully into the woods and disappear. Two days after, the police ask him about a murder they think he committed.
  • You’re looking at him—somehow the complete stranger has his attention planted squarely on you—as a warm smile drives its way across his lips. Nothing will ever be the same.
  • In the darkness, you answer a knock at your door — to find someone who you think only you could have seen, but now seems to be striding around your living room.
  • You are0640 minutes. Your co-worker is missing, since you left him when he realized he was late for a job he really needed. But it’s a decision you wish you could take back now.
  • The creatures of the past gather, watching you do nothing while they continue to disappear. Burning them is your only option.
  • You’re sitting in a room with a man who claims to give you the power of time travel. What’s the time travel device?
  • You open the door to your home, throwing your coat over the couch and kicking off your shoes in the process. Then there’s a tap at the door.
  • You find yourself against the wall, unable to breathe, your hands and legs wrapped up by … what is that?
  • A woman rides a bus into her favorite neighborhood. When the bus reaches its stop, the woman gets out, and she looks at her surroundings with knowing eyes.
  • You’ve made a new friend, and they tell you that when they touch you, they can read your every thought. You need to figure out how to get them to stop.
  • You’re standing on the top of the tallest building you’ve ever seen. You only just realized you’re going to drive your car off the edge.
  • Secrets make people do strange things. What has been growing in your neighborhood that no one noticed?
  • After a long day at work, you are finally able to sit down in peace and silence. You turn to relax, and you find your favorite stuffed animal staring at you in a way you haven’t seen before.
  • You’ve been trying so hard to sleep. But you can’t stop thinking about someone walking through your house. Outside your window.
  • Your cell phone rings, but there’s no one on the line. The stranger on the other end of the phone has a mission for you.
  • It’s been over six months now — six months since you’ve kissed, made love, held hands, or even spoken to your significant other. What are you going to do when he finally forces his way back into your life?
  • A scream wakes you in the middle of the night. And you realize it—it is your last that you will hear.
  • A rat skitters across your face at night, waking you from a daze. You sit up — and realize that figure laying beside you wasn’t your husband, but a perfect stranger.
  • The pounding on the door was becoming frantic. The man was obviously desperate to be invited in, although his desire was not absolute. That was shown by his cursory check of the apartment.
  • About to go to sleep, you hear a knock on your basement door followed by a voice saying, “I need you to help me, please!”
  • You take a flickering, dying candle and set it to the paper. At first, it resists but then begins to give up, curling and blackening. Slowly, as the surface shrinks, two words bubble up to its surface.
  • Your siblings have always thought it would be a good prank to have you find your death in your house, so they leave you alone for the night.
  • You are alone in your room when you hear a noise at the window. Your figure cast up an eerie silhouette on the glossy window cover. Whose is it?
  • The stranger got closer to you, moving slowly and fatally, like the approaching footsteps of a spider.
  • Your world has been turned upside down and you find yourself back in your childhood. What memories do you revisit?
  • She stood on the third floor rooftop and watched the tidal wave of cars approaching down the freeway. Then she jumped into the river of cars…
  • You know something’s going to happen, but you don’t know what. Night’s turning to day as the music gets louder and louder. Someone opens the window, and something strange crawls in. What is it?
  • There is a FaceBook message you just can’t ignore — from someone claiming to be your long-lost friend.
  • It is the dead of night and you see an envelope perched on your doorknob. There is a word written in red ink on the envelope. You know this word, but you don’t know why.
  • You have ESP, but the torture is finally wearing off. Now you just feel plain old pain — and a sinister plot is afoot.
  • You’re trying to type a message, but you keep getting interrupted by the sound of a phone. Who do you think is calling you?
  • Your brother loves you, but when you open your eyes and ask, he doesn’t say a word — except for the one thing you absolutely didn’t want to know.
  • It was not supposed to end like this. You were not supposed to fight hand-to-hand with a drowning man, your lungs burned anew and started rapid fire breathing as you felt blazing pressure forcing itself down your throat. The burn and give was not your shoulder or your spine threatened to physically fold was not in violent this, and you grappled man with little choice with how to proceed. You fought for everything you love. In the end, the end was a bloody mess.
  • A man you’ve apparently wronged — and he has witnesses — is at your door and wants you to do you a favor. If you don’t, he’ll reveal your misdeeds.
  • You’ve just broken up with the love of your life and, after doing what you always do to cope with heartbreak, you get into bed. But tonight your dog doesn’t look at you with love, and your cat doesn’t curl beside you. After hearing something from the corner of the room, you look up…
  • You have been asked to attend the reading of your recently deceased uncle’s will. Upon entering the room, however, you deduce that he is not really dead and is instead playing a trick on his relatives.
  • Everything was going wrong today, your plane had crashed, your job is gone, and your pet has sad eyes because you don’t have the money to take him to the vet when he gets sick of getting sick.
  • A boy in the third grade saves his lunch money to buy a toy. When he gets home, he discovers that he’s been ripped off.
  • You are locked in a cage underground, but you don’t know why you were taken there or how you’ll get out.
  • Two of your best friends are on their way to confess forOh no! Someone is attacking your friends!You have a secret that could get you killed, but there’s no one to help you.
  • Mysterious instructions from your recently deceased father tell you to go to a cave and start digging.
  • Someone just handed you a letter and you can tell it’s important, at least to them. What does it say?
  • You are having a party, or a dinner with family, when one of them disappears from the kitchen – you have to find them.
  • You visited some friends last evening for dinner, but shifts in the time against you brought you home to your own bed last night.
  • The trees are bare outside your window, and every once in a while, there is a horrid scream that sends a shiver down your spine.
  • You wake to a loud crash and a stranger whispering in your ear promises to murder all your friends one by one.
  • Your latest bargain buy vibrates in your hand. You hope it’s like the old toys and flashes letters or numbers at you.
  • A teenage girl has just put the finishing touches on her presentation for internet safety… but is it too late?
  • Because of a head injury, you can’t remember your spouse. Can your spouse help you recover your memories or will you let…
  • You find yourself in a long corridor with 50 identical doors that all look exactly the same, but they are all numbered differently.
  • You pull your brother out of the building in front of you, but just as you do, the ground gives way underneath the rest of your family.
  • Someone says they have kidnapped your brother or sister. You discover the kidnapper wants $50,000. They have your sibling on the phone – covered with a cloth – they say if you call the police, they will kill your brother or sister. Can you get the money? Can you get your sibling back?
  • A man is murdered in his apartment. The only clues are fragments of memory he left behind. A detective picks up each odd piece of evidence and starts fitting them together, bit by bit. One piece, no bigger than a fingernail, he’s just starting to put together when he gets dragged away from his desk and into a high speed chase.
  • After dinner, you slip off before the family to sit on the beach and listen to the waves. You feel something crunch under your foot — frantically, you free your foot from the sand and wiggle your toes. It’s not your foot…
  • You have become one of the best agents in your field and are called to your boss’s office on your day off.
  • Your wife tells you that you’re going out of town on business and your flight is about to leave. As you approach the gate, a stranger walks up and asks if they can take your place on the plane.
  • There’s a car parked in your space, and the owner’s interior light is still on. So, you run up to the window to see who’s inside when – BANG!
  • You’re telling someone about something really emotionally intense that has just happened in your life. As soon as they don’t want to talk about it anymore, the tone of their voice turns completely cold.
  • A waiter approaches you with a covered platter. When you ask what’s under the silver cover, he smiles politely.
  • You pack your bags and walk out the door, leaving a videotaped message for your family on the living room table.
  • You’ve just found out your parent’s childhood pet has been bashing away at its cage behind your house for years.
  • You spot someone you know at the bus stop, but before you can fully recognize their face, they point something at you and shoot. As you slump in a mindless heap, you wonder how they knew your secret.
  • You get up from the hospital bed and walk out of the hospital without telling anyone. Turn your future around.
  • You’re driving home from work when your car has a flat tire and won’t start. Then you hear a rhythmic “thump, thump.”
  • You’ve been in the same job for years and grew tired of it. So, it’s time for a promotion. What methods will you use to earn this promotion?
  • You go to a new dental office for a checkup. They discover an anomaly. You go for a second opinion and receive very different news.
  • Somewhere, someone has found a means to kill everyone on the planet, and everyone knows about it except you.
  • Your phone rings and when you answer you hear nothing. But there’s a bad feeling settling into your chest from now on.
  • Security cameras have caught someone going through the trash in her garage. The video feed captures his face and sends an alert to her phone.
  • As you draw the curtains in your lounge, you suddenly hear violence and screams from your neighbour’s balcony.
  • Cathartic writing is a single, emotionally charged session to get out feelings and release built up stress. This writing style may result in unfinished work, but can let out strong emotions.
  • Each day that goes by, someone is watching you just a little more closely and plotting to kill you a little more purposefully. Know who it is?
  • You are considering buying a painting for your living room. However, as soon as you take it down from the wall, you realize it is moving.
  • After days of infection, you’re dying. Before everyone starts to flee, you call your child to your side. What do you say to her?
  • A trapped serial killer decides to share his last few hours alive. Relatives and friends become trapped in the traps in a demented salvage yard.
  • The light through the window was warm. The sun began to disappear, slipping below the horizon. You can feel your pulse quicken in anticipation.
  • You’ve received a strange letter in the mail and you want to know who wrote it and what their intentions are.
  • In your childhood, you never owned any toys. Instead, you made your own. And one in particular was your favorite.
  • Your whole body tenses. Your eyes dart around the igloo and the dark room, frantically searching for the thing you know is there.
  • Stopping a stranger in the street is never an enviable task. But for Laura Lister, the man asked her to stop was the man she should have never stopped for.
  • It’s morning. You’re on your daily run working up a sweat. You try to pull ahead of the other runner you see in the distance. You turn into a trail and the other runner follows you, getting closer.
  • Your uncle approaches you when you’re playing chess at the cafe thinking he got something to say to you. He pulls out a cigarette. You stop him. He says he knows what you are and starts laughing. He looks at you in the eyes and that’s when you realize his face has changed. Or had it?
  • Your neighbor notices that you never leave the house, and decides to check on you. Something isn’t right.
  • The elevator you’re riding is rapidly plummeting to the ground floor. The doors won’t open and you’re pretty sure you know why. But do you?
  • Your hands shake as you realize you’re holding the very thing he’s after-because you know he’ll find you first…
  • Someone carefully swims up to you and says, “I just realized you’re the answer to all of my problems!”
  • All of the sudden, you realize someone’s sitting next to you on the couch. Your heart rate ablaze, you run for the door — only to discover that your wrist is handcuffed to the coffee table.
  • Someone in a year’s time from now will die. It’s up to you to find out who it is and save them — without changing anything else in your life.
  • There was a noise in the kitchen, a thump unlike any you’ve ever heard, and now your whole house smells undeniably of chocolate.
  • A car pulls up outside, followed by another car, followed by another, until you have at least thirty cars lined up in front of your house. What do you do?
  • You, your best friend, and your enemy are on a carousel. The ride starts moving, but you aren’t in control…
  • Just as you get ready to go to sleep, you realize you don’t have your phone on you. It’s the only thing that links you to the rest of the world. You need it. Now.
  • The slow and quiet sound of someone crawling through the vents outside your bedroom. It’s late at night. What do you do?
  • Everywhere you look, you see her staring at you. Clenching your teeth, you mutter, “I told you not to.”
  • It’s been many years since this happened and the smell of blood still haunts you ― you have to speed everything up, you can’t catch your breath, you feel a warm hand gripping your shoulder and pulling you back. When you play the tape again, the voice on the other side is different.
  • You’re driving home, and you realize you left your lights on in a major way – they’re still blazing. Yet, how can this be?
  • You take out your earplugs — everything has gone silent. It’s dark, you’re all alone, and your very soul has been stolen.
  • After a day of work your dog starts barking and you open up your door to find a strange man with a mask on your dog, throwing him in a bag.
  • You are on a busy train during rush hour. You notice that the person next to you counted off eleven and a half minutes, all with their eyes closed.
  • You’ve been summoned to hand over a family heirloom in a room that has been booby-trapped to kill intruders.
  • Your name flashes on the news as one of the ten most wanted felons, for crimes you can’t even recall.
  • A teardrop is getting bigger as it rolls down the side of a statue. You have no choice but to stop it.
  • You and your loved ones live on the edge of a minefield. Your dog seems afraid of something. When you see what it is, you wish you hadn’t.
  • You bump into an old schoolmate and find out they have you under surveillance — because you’ve committed a murder that you don’t remember.
  • Someone’s following you as you go through the hallways of your workplace. You don’t know him, but you know he wants to harm you so you continue a charade of collecting important work-related things, all the while looking for a way to outsmart him.
  • You’ve heard whispers from the lips of strange men since you entered this exhibit. Who is he? What are they saying?
  • You’ve just broken into a house when someone yells at you to stop what you’re doing. You don’t listen.
  • In a room you know everyone, but everyone seems to know someone you don’t — a stranger suddenly appears.
  • Your camp counselors line the trail at the end of Operation Midnight Sun, lanterns in hand, waiting to congratulate you. You shake your head — all is not well in Xibalba County.
  • There is a nightmare that has been following you all your life. One night you hear a knock at the door. You hope it isn’t them.
  • Years after a violent crime, a detective’s perspective shifts. He’s convinced he missed the killer, and the answers are in an old file that’s gathering dust on the force’s shelves. The application for the position of your favorite barista closes tomorrow. Will you submit your résumé? You’ve travelled to China after your cousin goes missing. You’re undercover with the Shai Ti Tong, a.k.a. Snakeheads.
  • Upon investigating the box of evidence you’ve been given, you discover a note from the killer saying that their next victims will be your children.
  • You are locked inside a room. You don’t know how you got there, but the locks are very uncomfortably shiny and new.
  • The person you love most in the world evenly stepped over your body, without ever once looking down at you.
  • Someone just ruined your life, your reputation — and he just took a seat next to you and asked you what you did for lunch.
  • You’re fed up with being scared. You’re going to find out who you’re up against and stop being a victim.
  • Imagine a situation in which you find an intruder down on his or her knees, begging for forgiveness in the midst of a crime.
  • To investigate a vicious crime they need a perfect cover, so they plant one of their perpetrators at the chaotic scene.
  • Someone got a message to you, but they can’t talk anymore – and you have the next clue. Where do you look?
  • A stranger sends you a letter threatening your life, shoved under your door in the nick of time. But this wasn’t the first time someone had threatened your life. They had been doing so every week — for the last five years.
  • You’ve been accused of murder, but before you can form a counter-argument, your “guilty” verdict is announced.
  • You try to run when a stranger grabs you by the arm. “Wait…don’t go yet,” the stranger pleads with you.
  • It’s dark, and it’s night. You can hear a child calling your name, but the only things you see are tall shadows.
  • Your character witnesses an act of terror and, unable to get to a safe place right away, hides to avoid detection. Fearing the worst, your character looks for a distraction to recover. What is it?
  • A car slowly rolls up your driveway. It pauses. Then it sits there for a while longer. No one leaves.
  • You climb up the side of a house to the second story, armed with a sledgehammer. You kick in a window and throw a bomb-shaped object inside.
  • Someone betrays you, but your world is full of people you can trust. “The Twist” has nothing on you.
  • It’s your first night working as an overnight security guard. You make your rounds of the building. You hear a noise you think is just your imagination. It seems to be coming from the basement. You go to check it out.
  • You’re driving to your favorite vacation spot when you see two people at opposite ends of the road waving at you. What does that mean?
  • You’re planning to rob the museum, it’s Saturday night, and they’re holding an event for just such a plot. Your reward is tempting, there’s going to be a lot of shouting, and there are at least three people in the museum who would recognize you. Although you can’t hear from the room you’re in, you hear screams.
  • You’re at work/school/a party/social event. Something catches your eye or another person catches your eye. It’s not quite the right eye, though.
  • Your neighbor knocks at your door and tells you that they feel guilty for not telling you sooner. They say, “Your daughter’s been seeing someone at night. Someone you’d never expect!” … How do you react?
  • You walk off a plane and see your family standing there to greet you. You live in another country. They don’t.
  • You’re one of the last kids picked for the cherry-picking game. When the ball rolls under the outhouse, will you go in after it?
  • You rush to board the elevator, only to find the door won’t open. Instead, it sends you back to the main floor. Why?
  • You’ve been selected to play a game of Russian Roulette, where those who played the game before you died. How do you play?
  • You bought it for the first serious relationship you’ve had in months … then someone else called you sweetheart.
  • Nicole’s in trouble, and the boy she likes is the only one who can help. He’s already made the biggest mistake of his life, and he’s just about to make another.
  • The house is pitch dark, so you have to drag the heavy dresser over to under your bedroom door. Surely, no one will get in while you sleep.
  • You’re being interrogated. You ignore the accusations of your interrogator, but he keeps returning to the same one — and you know you’re guilty.
  • A stranger appears, asking you to defend them in court. They reveal that they know your biggest secret.
  • The moment you thought was dead, the one no one believed was possible, it rises from the grave to feed you its darkness, prepared to use your life as its first meal.
  • A man and a woman sit across from one another looking guilty, saying nothing as the suspicion in the room increases.
  • You’re in your book shop when a man walks in and tells you that he knows who you are, that he knows what you’ve done.
  • A woman is visiting her elderly sister during cherry blossom season. She sees her walking down the stairs, pale, elderly, and bloody, a knife in her hand.
  • An alarming number of people in your town are disappearing mysteriously. The only person they can all link to is you. What do you do?
  • Your neighbor invited you over for dinner. A delicious-smelling turkey is taking pride of place at the center of the table. What happened next?
  • A strange figure is giggling from just outside the reach of your flashlight beam. After a terrifying moment, the lights flick back on. Your heart nearly stops.
  • Your phone vibrates with an emergency notification. You open the app and are asked “Can you hear a heartbeat?”
  • Unlike most of the people at the party, you notice that one room in the mansion-style house hasn’t been locked down for the evening, and you excuse yourself from the festivities without answering anyone’s questions.
  • You just found out that someone you changed forever will be leaving the Northern part of the country.
  • You’ve started trying to figure out what makes the lighthouse over the beach go dark, but you’ve stirred up something else in the town’s lighthouse.
  • At the funeral of your closest friend, you receive an anonymous message that tells you what happened to this person.
  • There are five hundred emails in your inbox for you to work through. Only one of them says, ‘open me.’
  • A piece of paper comes sliding under the door. It is an outline of something, but isn’t well-defined. It appears to have been ruined.
  • It was one of only three things on the island, and you were staring at the other two. Now they were turning to stare back.
  • You’re reaching into your pocket for your keys or a handful of change and realize they’re not there.
  • The men hold the mother down as her child screams in panic and you feel her anguish as you glimpse the needle as they prepare to drop it.
  • You’re out for a drive when you see a corner of a crate peeking out from behind rubbish by the side of the road.
  • Your home has almost been the target of a disaster you see in your dreams. In search of answers, you meet a man who says he’ll help you stop the dreams from coming true. Because he’s the only witness to the disaster you dreamt, he’s able to predict what you see before your eyes as you fall asleep.
  • The locksmith promised to climb through your window and fix the lock first thing tomorrow. When you open your door tonight, she is already sitting on your living room couch.
  • What is it that your character is hiding? Recall a time your own character told a lie. Now set up a scene where that action, or someone else’s discovery of the lie, sets events in motion.
  • You have suddenly gotten the ability to read minds. This detective knows that you know how to read minds.
  • Something was waiting for her in her room. Buried deep in her closet. Underneath old textbooks, notebooks, and binders.
  • You’re trapped in a building with no power and a man comes out of the shadows to tell you a terrifying story.
  • You’re running down a dark street so fast. You look behind you and see no one on your tail. Just as you figure no one’s there, you turn slightly and spot a knife flying directly at you.
  • You can see something atrocious behind the slats of plywood that are so crudely nailed up over your bedroom window.
  • Your new neighbor seems friendly enough — but you notice a lot of lights at his or her house when no one is home. What are those lights and why are the curtains always closed?
  • “You have five minutes,” her voice came through the door, announcing your wife’s arrival to your home for your dinner date. You look down and see them – the plastic package of fish sticks you planned to serve your family.
  • You’re on the witness stand, testifying in a murder trial. You think you see the killer smile at you, and then your body collapses and you die.
  • You look up at the building’s clock and see that you have only twenty minutes until the power comes back on.
  • The room smells different today. Like blood and roses. How did a dead body get into your basement? What are they doing down there in the dark?
  • You throw your old coat out. You don’t think that you’ll ever wear it again, but when you throw it into the dumpster you find that you threw away $1,000.
  • You are safe now, for just a little while longer, but as you sit and wait the poison takes effect. You glance to the side to see an empty space where your spouse once lay dead. You’re safe… for now.
  • You’ve been asked to serve as a test subject. It’s to make sure that the treatment works for everyone. It’s a simple treatment that takes three days. Everyone else who has taken it has had no ill effects. There have been no documented side effects except exhaustion. But you knew that you couldn’t take it, didn’t you?
  • The clearing was filled with specters that swayed back and forth, as if enjoying a good song at the town VFW.
  • You’re at a crowded public place. You don’t recognize anyone, but you’re uncomfortable and want to leave.
  • The person that you love dearly stands before you, paralyzed with fear. “I know what you’ve done. Where you’ve done it. And how you did it.”
  • Your neighbor just asked you to lend him your shiny new lawn mower and promised to return it tomorrow afternoon. You don’t have very many friends, but you’re willing to trust him. When you go look for him at his house, you see his sealed body hanging from a flagpole by the front door. As police are walking towards the house to investigate, you pull back. What must have happened in there to cause this?
  • Someone you didn’t know walked right up to you and spoke to you in a familiar tone, as if you knew them for a long time. You didn’t recognize them.
  • One Way plane tickets. One car key on each. One child missing. One threatening note. One beginning …
  • On screen, a stranger’s life hangs in the balance. It’s your choice, but the next decision you make may decide their ultimate fate.
  • Someone walks into the room right at this moment and pokes you with a pin. You call out for help. No one comes.
  • The clock stopped a few days ago. You know why — and when it strikes again, you might be on the menu.
  • You are an expert with everyone, that’s why the mayor chose you for his security detail. Then multiple threads simultaneously flood in and you are forced to make a choice.
  • Is your mother enjoying her retirement or is she actually hosting a group of terrorists in her house?
  • You are walking to the house of a friend or relative when you notice that no one else seems to be around. Where have they gone? Why?
  • You are playing your favorite game when you realise that you aren’t alone. What runs through your mind?
  • You are detective Kinsey and you suspect your partner of taking bribes, so you follow him on another case. A client pays you in blood for solving the case. What do you do?
  • The movie screen on the wall flickers to life. The face of someone you know flashes on the screen as they terrorize you. What do they say? You have to stay silent and listen.
  • Your piano recital has just started — and there’s just one problem. Your piano keeps making sounds on its own.
  • You pull your car up to the red light and pat yourself on the back for remembering to buckle your seat belt.
  • Someone knocks on your door, but when you open it you’re face to face with a murderer from the past.
  • You almost lose your grip on the small, brown padded envelope until you feel something against the palms of your hands.
  • There is a dead body lying in your living room. Your fingerprints are all over the gun that killed them.
  • Copying down a revolutionary new formula in your notebook which under normal circumstances would be a blast, but in your situation is more of a source of anxiety. It’s a good thing you hid all of your computer files and placed a dummy virus in your security computer program to divert suspicion.
  • You arrive home from a mysterious walk to find a stranger trying to cut off his own head with a butter knife.
  • You go to a motel because you think it’s the best way to have time to yourself. But while you’re there, you hear someone coming.
  • You are trapped in a room with a stranger with a threat of pain, but unknown to you is that there is an accomplice outside the door with a threat of death. You can only exit the room if you help your captor escape — whose side are you on?
  • In your darker times, you notice you are able to predict the future. Every time you realize it’s true, you feel more in tune with life. But aware as you are, are you confident you can predict the rest of your story?
  • Your brother thinks phones are overrated. So the last time you talked to him, he attached a camera to a monkey’s head, which took a selfie of the two of you, attached it to an email and sent it to your phone.
  • You are sitting in a park, and a person hands you a bouquet of flowers. “It’s not what you think,” the stranger says. What is it?
  • Creaks cut through your house, and you get out of bed, your hands outstretched before you, worried about what you might find.
  • You know the door behind you is locked. There’s a closed window to your right. You’re on the tenth floor.
  • The bizarre screech of brakes forces you to push your windshield down from the second-story apartment building.
  • You’re negotiating with a hostage-taker. On your drive to the negotiation, the hostage-taker calls and demands you get out of your car at an abandoned gas station without any belongings. When you get out, you notice blood-spattered sand on the road.
  • Everything is black. You cannot see anything around you, but you know there is something out there. What fend aside.
  • The voice had told him to hurry and hide everything, but he hadn’t wanted to. He just hadn’t wanted to.
  • Everyone in town still has their souls, except you. You are left to fend for yourself with the other soulless monsters.
  • Your eyes hurt…everything hurts…things are getting fuzzy…keep struggling…careful…remember where….you car is……still there…right, guys? You guys are there..right???
  • You have to wake up to the sound of the alarm clock piercing your ears, but you are fully aware of what will happen if you open your eyes.
  • The structure you thought was solid and safe begins to crumble around you. As everything comes crashing down, you can’t help but wonder why they chose you to take it all away.
  • On the face of it, nothing is wrong. You’re watching your favorite TV show. But there’s not a dry eye in the house when the ad break comes on.
  • You walk away from the interview, making sure no one’s following you. You’re sure that your interview went badly.
  • Your skin is burning. Something has set you on fire. You have to get out — and your house is on fire.
  • You’re trying to keep your secret under wraps, but deep down you’re dying to tell somebody the truth.
  • An explosion! You smell it before you see it, as you run down the stairs. These are the last five minutes of your life.
  • You believe you’re about to be talked down from a tall building by a man dressed as a superhero. But the person on your mind as you launch yourself into the back break below is the person in his Zorro costume.
  • Your husband and you went to the same party. He fought with the host and ten minutes after you left he texted you and asked you to pick him up. He wasn’t killed in the crash — but you wish he had been.
  • As you open the door, the murky, black cloud rolls into your living room. You turn to run, but it overtakes you at the door.
  • You hear two voices arguing over who’s going to die first. You’re locked in the house with two killers who have turned against each other.
  • The way your competitor reacted, you knew immediately that your identity was a secret no longer. Now, you wait in the woods, just inside your own property line. When your competitor comes home, you may kill him. If you do, you’re no better than he.
  • You leave your house after a party and, as you’re slowly walking down the drive, you feel like somebody is following you.
  • Your friend chooses a long, dark path to walk down. You know it’s a terrible idea, but you’d rather he or she were taken by the shadows than you.
  • You find out the leader of your country is a merciless enemy of millions, and that you have access to his location.
  • You hear a gunshot. Then another. And then two more. And before you take another breath, six people are dead.
  • Software engineers look exhausted — nobody seems to know why. Until they realize the killer has entered the internet via their stereo system.
  • All he wanted was peace and quiet, but now he’s worried the stranger on the other side of the phone uses a lot of hand gestures.
  • You’ve just poured your morning cup of coffee and turned on the radio. They’ve announced your name as the latest casualty of the endless serial killer mystery that has been unraveling lately.
  • You go to a psychic to find out everything that is going to happen to you, but you don’t want any surprises. He tells you three things, and two of them are wrong, though you don’t know which ones.
  • You are in the house alone. You look at the photograph on your desk, and it takes all your willpower to go downstairs.
  • You walk into the bathroom to pee, and discover that you are alone. But you can’t help but feel like you aren’t.
  • Your partner keeps asking you suspicious questions about what day of the week it is, and if it’s the same day you said it was.
  • A scene towards the end of the story, written as though it comes from a third party describing the events that are happening.
  • There’s a lake on your property. One day, you notice that the water level has gone down a hundred yards from where it always has been.
  • A creepy grandfather clock in your home only strikes every hour when it’s 6 o’clock. What hour doesn’t it strike?
  • If you work at an animal shelter, you sometimes have to watch the most traumatic part of pet ownership, but tonight, they keep showing up without being adopted.
  • You walk into the office, but it’s not the one you work in — and that doesn’t matter, because this one’s been set on fire.
  • The laughter of your old best friends filled the room, and you hated how easily you smiled back at it.
  • When your roommate comes home early to your apartment, he discovers a body you swore wasn’t there before.
  • You’ve just been given a photograph of someone else that was given to you by another. You go to that person, but they say they know nothing about what you’re talking about.
  • You’re walking up to kill someone. Everything will be over just as soon as you push that one button…
  • Since reading that magazine article back in the ‘70s, you’ve been afraid of birds. Finally, your phobia interferes with your life.
  • You’ve been sidelined in a long war, game after game, trying to learn the mind and motives of your enemy. Now, everything has changed.
  • The 19-year-old man stopped in the doorway of the hardware store just in time to see the old woman in the flowered muu-muus jump up like she was spring loaded and then heard her yell “Shame!” in a rasping voice and wonder what all the fuss was about when he caught sight of the muscular red-headed fellow leaning against the cinder block wall with a smile on his face and the guy’s arm stretched out toward the witness handing him the wallet full of money.
  • The last thing the “accident victim” remembers is pulling into her garage at home, getting out of her car, and suddenly sitting on a cold stone slab.
  • You pick up a book to read and before you’re even finished the first paragraph, you feel your heartbeat quicken. You think you’re hearing whispering.
  • After a long day of harvesting the fossilized body of one of your ancestors, you discover that, anywhere within 50 feet of you, that body is starting to move.
  • You’re riding a roller coaster and you begin to feel a vibration through your shoes. The fun starts to fade and the air almost smells like fear.
  • You’re the victim of a con. You can feel the rope tightening around your neck, taking your breath away.
  • “You can never escape me.” Your eyes darted around the room and landed on a single last word scrawled in your handwriting on the mirror.
  • The girl you’ve noticed across the way sits in front of you. She turns to face you. She whispers something. It scares you.
  • You’ve worked a long time at a job where you always tried to do everything by the books. You finally decide to push a few of those rules…
  • Your soul bleeds music as you play the violin, a wooden box — then, your pinched heart sings vibrantly.
  • Five thousand dollars. In cold, hard cash. Just sitting there on your kitchen table. You can feel your heart starting to beat faster already.
  • A creature is seen talking to a human on their computer, changing what it says in response to each answer their human counterpart gives.
  • You’re driving up a mountain, and the farther you go, the slower your car goes. It finally stops, and there’s nothing around you, and no signs of life. What do you do?
  • Someone has given you a gift, but when you open it you feel like a keeper at a murder facility and your finger is supposed to be the cage door.
  • You hear the voice of someone you cared for a long time, it’s calling to you. You don’t know why, but you have to call back. You have to answer.
  • You’re in a bookstore, and you notice it has another secret message that was hidden behind a false bookcase. You pull the bookcase back, and see a note.
  • There is a madman on the train with you. You don’t know who he is, only that his eyes are filled with bloodlust.
  • Have you ever wondered what it would be like to run from someone or something for your whole life? That’s exactly what you’ve been doing your whole life.
  • Love is the fresh red blood of a human heart. The organ flutters as if terrified, an ornate butterfly flitting around in your hand.
  • The plot and overall pacing of a thriller novel is completely reliant on subplots working with each other in a delicate balance. Just write’s list of hundreds of unwitting and tightly-woven subplots comes in handy.
  • A voice has asked you to watch a videotape. What is recorded on it convinces you that you must meet the man who controls it.
  • Four weeks ago your telling of the frightening occurrence in that shack made a believer out of your co-workers. Then one day your body was found…
  • A car approaches, the driver asking if everything is OK. You can see there is something strange about them.
  • You’re at a meeting, when somebody quietly walks up to you and starts a conversation which sees you take an action you normally wouldn’t.
  • You feel you were leading a perfectly normal life until you saw the other world that existed right alongside yours.
  • She was sad. She was heartbroken. But in her sadness, she let it out on the wrong person — now she’s in big trouble.
  • You’re standing in the middle of a crowded room, surrounded by strangers…but you’re not standing alone.
  • You hit the patch of ice. You somersault, and the soft, crunchy snow wraps and soaks you. Everything goes black.
  • You are confronted with the manuscript of a work in progress by your estranged twin brother… and the writing isn’t very good.
  • Your enemy has kidnapped the loved one, and they’ve dropped her in your territory, alive, for you to protect her.
  • You open up a door and there’s nothing. You shut it again and there’s still nothing there. But when you open it the second time, you can’t shut it again no matter how hard you try.
  • She couldn’t make herself look up, couldn’t stop staring at the text playing on her laptop screen. Despite herself, she couldn’t resist.
  • Noise outside — what’s going on? The curtains are open and you can see there’s a commotion on the street below. What’s it about?
  • You leave an important message on someone’s voicemail or email and it’s the last time you hear from them.
  • Your car has broken down in the woods. You begin walking to the nearest town. You hear footsteps and turn around to see deep eyes set in a bald head.
  • You bought your dream car, and instead of taking it for a joy ride like you’ve always dreamed of doing, you decide to take it to the local mechanic for a check up.
  • The ringing started as your normal little ringtone, but then it turned into a howling that seems to come from inside your head.
  • You read the last letter and stare at the handwriting wondering, is this real? Has someone been haunting me anonymously without my knowledge?
  • You order the ice cream from your favorite shop, but when you go to get it, you discover that there’s a razor blade hidden in each hand-scooped scoop.
  • You’re about to cross the street when you see a desperate man begging for money. A car cannot stop in time, but perhaps you can prevent the man from being hurt. What do you do?
  • Your younger sibling insists on watching TV with headphones, and so you block out all the sound on your end. Did something go wrong?
  • You walk into the kitchen and see your parents standing over the worktop. They aren’t moving or speaking — or they’re moving and talking in a way you don’t recognise.
  • Your partner/lover/sidekick has done something deeply unethical and insists they were wrong, that they didn’t really do it. But they did. They did it. They did it. And their expression says they know they did it but they insist on using their own volition to change their actions. Do you call the authorities, do you trust them, or do you choose to trust them?
  • You see them, red eyes illuminated by the stings of the streetlight. They’re lurking on top of your building, ready to pounce — if they can get up the fire escape fast enough.
  • You’re at your place of work when someone tells you to follow them. Who takes you into a dark room and scares you aren’t alone.
  • You find the perfect gift for a special someone, but soon realize how closely related this gift is to yourself.
  • Someone asks you for help. You agree — but the moment you agree, you discover exactly why you shouldn’t have.
  • Your alarm clock rings. Before you can reach over to shut if off, you realize that a small person has wriggled into your bedroom. You look down and see it is a small person with a knife.
  • You awake in the middle of the night to see your father standing in your room. He turns, looks at you, and continues to walk out the door, padding silently on bare feet.
  • As the curtains of your bedroom are violently yanked open, you stumble yourself to a stand to defend whatever is about to emerge from the sheet-covered window of your room….
  • Someone knocks on your door. You answer, but no one is there. But where would they go if they weren’t there?
  • Being in a new city is stressful enough, but imagine you’re being stalked while doing it, and there’s nowhere to turn because no one believes you.
  • Record the perfect piece of favored music. But then, a person appears in front of the music player, stopping you from turning the recording off. What do you do?
  • In a cold room at the end of a long, dark hallway are two transparent refrigerators. One is marked Incubation, the other Resurrection.
  • There’s a piece of paper sitting on the desk in front of you. What’s written on that paper and what will you do with it?
  • A collection of disturbing drawings is discovered by a child. The parents’ prove helpful in breaking the case.
  • You are flying in a small plane with your best friend and your fiancée. Without telling anyone, you intend to throw your bride overboard.
  • You look around your apartment — everything seems to be in its place, but you know something is wrong. You hear a creak.
  • Something isn’t right with him, you think to yourself as you watch his eyes dilate. He’s seen something.
  • You sniffed with a sneer and relaxed on the leather, red sofa, blowing smoke rings at the ceiling. Your sweet dream was slashed by razor-sharp claws.
  • The pub becomes silent as the door swings open. You stop, turning around to find who might have come into the pub.
  • A noise from behind alerts you when you walk past the closet… but there’s nothing there except your terrified imagination.
  • You’ve had a bad day. Really bad. So bad, in fact, that you see flying monkeys outside of your window.
  • During a walk through the woods, you find the body of a woman in a duffel bag hanging from a tree. What are you feeling?
  • Click! You’re locked inside your wardrobe. It feels too small for someone as large as you. You should have checked if there was something on the other side of the door.
  • You’ve just killed someone in self-defense, but she calls you from her bathroom. You have to go in.
  • You have always feared losing your sight. Are the visions you see with your eyes closed real or imagined?
  • Someone slips in the bar believing they are drunk, only to realize later that it was actually a date-rape drug.
  • You peer down into the darkness of the abandoned well. A voice you don’t know whispers in your ear, “You need to lower me down into it.”
  • Your wife or child has been taken hostage and you have to negotiate with the kidnappers to get them back, only you can’t stop thinking about the things you did to get them in trouble in the first place.
  • You receive a message on your phone that directs you to a manhole in an alley. You need to get into it to read the rest of the message. What happens when you do?
  • You’re standing in the path of a strange, green light. You know you have to get off it by going to the left, but can’t…
  • The dog growls again, and this time you know it wasn’t a normal growl — it was a warning growl. What do you do next?
  • You’ve found the car that just rear ended your brand new luxury car. As you start taking notice of its detail, you notice that it looks…strange.
  • Your friend just called saying they’re trapped in their car, watching as a poison is slowly seeping into the air around them.
  • Every Sunday your mutual friend takes her granddaughter out for a walk. But the girl refuses to leave her grandmother’s side, even clinging to the woman’s jacket when no one is looking.
  • A cold sweat washed over your face as you hit the last note. The clapping worsened into a mocking laugh. You screamed.
  • Your neighbor calls to warn you that there’s someone in your backyard. You look out your window to check and see…
  • You’re shaken. You believe the guy who offered you one of those free samples at the market must take one of those pills.
  • You are working at the library and you find a spy watching you. What do you do to get some way to escape?
  • You welcome your family into your peaceful home, which suddenly turns into a horror movie when someone gets stabbed in the dark.
  • Suddenly, one afternoon, someone is sitting at your kitchen table with you… and he or she is a perfect stranger.
  • Your office door closes by itself, the latch clicking shut. Now the lights are off and music starts playing. As the music fades you hear heavy footsteps shuffling toward you, stopping suddenly just a few feet in front of you. You hear something kick off of the wall, then the footsteps retreat and the lights flicker back on.
  • They trailed blood behind them, smearing it across the room in paw prints. It was with glee in their eyes that they stared at you, somehow recognizing you as one of their prey. The stench of carnage hit your heart even before you realized that you were next on the list.
  • You hear somebody sneaking about outside. You don’t have your handy pocket discovery kit. But you have a mobile telephone. What do you do?
  • Something lingers around you in the dark, watching you, waiting for you to leave so that it can get to your family.
  • There’s a stranger inside you. As you lose control, you can see what they’re seeing…and feel what they’re feeling.
  • You and your friends are about to try out the newest practical joke, but you have no idea who’s this time you’re going to be pranking.
  • You hear that your son is starving in a locked room. You badly want food, but your conscience will only let you have half a sandwich. What do you do?
  • Someone gets into your car in the parking lot at work, but moments later it feels like they’re still there, talking to you.
  • You don’t remember what you ate last night, much less the last five years of your life. Memory has become one foggy haze.
  • During this war, everyone is a target of the enemy. So it isn’t surprising when they announce, “Spain is a hostage.” You are, as well.
  • Three women are trapped in a circular stairwell at the mall and an army of boys gets closer. What toy would you bring to fend them off… and why?
  • You sit at your desk in that quiet space before you leave for work. You start packing a lunch when you hear something.
  • A friend invites you to his upcoming wedding. All-expenses paid! But the event is on a cruise liner far out in the middle of the ocean — you need to sign an agreement saying that you won’t get off the boat. You’re not alone. There is another guest on board — the groom.
  • Your cell phone is next to your hand, vibrating rapidly. You glance at the Caller ID before answering and see a certain nine-digit number that keeps being called.
  • The small workgroup froze and looked up from their project. The big boss was especially intent as he addressed them.
  • Your travel companion is in the restroom. Now, eight hours into your long drive to New York City, you finally have a chance to get out of the car. You step out onto the road. But you didn’t take into account the angry driver chasing you . . .
  • On your way home through someone’s backyard, you hear a voice calling out to you from a stationary object. Startled, you examine the object and realize that it’s actually a man wrapped up and bound inside a…
  • You are innocent. Your waking life is much better than you imagined it could be. But tonight you keep dreaming the same murder over and over, and in your dreams, you have no choice but to commit the crime.
  • You’re working a case from your small corner cubicle in the corner of the police department. In this room are all the evidence from your cases. What do you see here that makes you confident to say you know who the criminal is?
  • Something is wrong. Everybody in the place is grinning, but no one is talking, and you think they have been this way for a while.
  • You wake up in the middle of the night and smell something burnt but when you check, everything’s ok.
  • Sometimes the scariest part isn’t the ghost, but lying in bed at night, wishing you could turn the lights off… but you can’t.
  • You go to check something out and discover something else lying on the table where you left it yesterday.
  • A strange man skulks around your garden at night. It bothers you a bit, but you get used to it. And then, you find something strange…
  • A mysterious letter slipped under your door. It looks exactly like your last one, except a paragraph is different and could land you in jail.
  • Someone has done something horrible, and it is your job to find out who. The only catch is that you have to do it while you’re blindfolded.
  • What sounds like two bricks smashing together is heard from for miles around. Is something falling from the sky?
  • A crowd has gathered around something. You cross the street and notice one of them pointing and laughing — at you. You are dressed in a dirty man’s t-shirt and sweaty gym shorts, despite the fact that you were just home sleeping for an hour.
  • Running through a dimly-lit forest, you sprint, jumping over tree roots and ducking under low branches, the moonlight is your only light.
  • You sit in your office chair 40 stories up, staring into a computer screen your boss insists you watch at all times. Any sign of another person’s presence — and you will be fired.
  • The room is cold and scary, yet you continue to write — knowing that every spell check reveals a new truth.
  • You’re walking down a crowded street, your head nodding to the beat of the song playing over your headphones. You notice a man nearby who is paying a lot of attention to you.
  • Your loved one sleeps and their chest rises and falls. They’re perfectly normal until you notice something peeking out of her hair.
  • The reflection you see in the mirror no longer resembles you, but someone else. This person wants something from you.
  • Every morning you find a small note under your door. You have to try really hard not to remember how it got there.
  • You show up to your business deal as scheduled, but when you see what’s on your desk you know you won’t be making money today.
  • You hate looking in mirrors. It’s not that there’s something wrong with your reflection. You just don’t want to see what’s behind you.
  • Mom knows your sibling is the magnet for the people you both love, and she’s tired of picking up the pieces. She makes you prove your ability to meet anyone head-on.
  • If you’re ever in a situation where you’re with a dozen people who could be the killer — but you have no idea which one is the bad one — what do you do?
  • On the way home from school, you force yourself not to look in grandmother’s room. But you know she’s in there, waiting for you.
  • Someone has slipped their card into your coat pocket. When you look down you can’t believe what you see. It’s a small dog treat.
  • You’re walking home at night, and after every step you take, it feels like the world’s doing the same.
  • Now that you are standing in a quieter part of town, you pause and look around with tears streaming down your face to find everyone is staring at you.
  • You wake up in a room you’ve never seen before. The door is locked, and there’s no one around. How do you get out?
  • You are in your home and everything is black and white – even the objects. But you know yourself and your home. Who is the intruder?
  • Last Christmas your parents took you and your siblings to visit relatives. But that’s not what’s important about that holiday trip. You remember the stranger in the black cloak who handed you a blue candle.
  • You regularly have nightmares, always about a green-eyed man, and when you’re awake, you keep thinking he’s nearby. When you look around, however, no one’s there. Confused and wary, you pick up a pen and paper and write, “This is a dream. I’m not actually here.” But when you look down, that message has vanished …
  • A little girl comes skipping down the street toward you, waving a teddy bear in one hand and smiling as though from the afterlife.
  • A word, a number, or a series of symbols you’ve never seen before are typed on your computer screen. They won’t go away.
  • You are a history teacher in an interactive school. The kids love it, but lately weird things have been happening to the kids’ computers.
  • A thick fog surrounds you, and even the light of the full moon on the water won’t make a difference to let you see any farther than five feet in front of you.
  • A secret, coded note just appeared out of nowhere, and now you are being held prisoner for something you know nothing about.
  • You’re curled up on your couch watching old shows on TV when alarms start blaring. You run toward the driveway to see what went wrong.
  • You place your hands on the cold metal and that smile comes to life, then it becomes the laugh of a madman as the elevator starts to move and rise.
  • You’re relaxing at home, thinking about all the great things that have happened in your life, when a photo shoots off the wall at your head.
  • You black out in the most seemingly boring place. When you come to again, a person is standing in front of you, bearing terrible news.
  • You’re sitting in a small, quiet restaurant for two, waiting for your date to show up. You finish your meal and begin to worry about why your date is late.
  • She stamped her foot and started sobbing. “But the dress code clearly says sneakers are never, ever appropriate.”
  • You’re searching for the guy in a red hat and later realize that is impossible because his red hat is, in fact, blood.
  • You’re walking down a street you’ve never been on when you realize you’re not at the street you’re dreaming of.
  • You’re running through the woods and you hear an animal growling. Please include its precise make-up.
  • You and your husband go camping. In the middle of the night, you get up and head for the bathroom, but you don’t make it.
  • You’re the most successful pub owner in town, much to the chagrin of every other one of your kind in the area. Tonight, your huge success will reveal itself as your biggest failure. You just know it.
  • You answer your door and he/she smiles apologetically. There is an apologetic story behind it, of course, and she needs your help…
  • The lights go out at an important event. You cast your hand over the light switch to flip it back on, but you can’t find the button to make it work.
  • You feel the eyes upon you as you stand at the back of the church, or at the hearth of the family fire. When you turn around, you almost scream, because standing behind you is a …
  • Your dog starts barking at nothing, and you turn to check out what she’s barking at and, quite simply, have the worst nightmare of your life.
  • Your friends are alive, and safe, but they’ve fallen asleep to an eternal slumber. You can’t seem to wake them up.
  • The footsteps outside your door are getting louder and louder. You know that suddenly you will be found — after all these years of hiding.
  • You find yourself buried in a hole, somehow certain that if you dig yourself out you’ll find yourself somewhere terrible.
  • The email that you just read may have just won you this month’s lottery. But when you go to retrieve it, you notice the mysterious letter at the top of the sender’s address isn’t an “@”.
  • Upon reading the fortune inside a Chinese cookie, you die of fright thinking the fortune couldn’t have been more true.
  • On a normal day in your normal life, you are plagued with intrusive, unhelpful thoughts. But unlike every other day, today those thoughts become reality.
  • Read about Character, Plot and Setting for more information on how these things shape and govern the act of writing a plot.
  • Your mind is racing with fear and ignorance regarding how you even ended up in this situation. Who was the culprit?
  • You arrive home from work with your groceries and find a woman sitting on the couch. What do you do?
  • Someone releases a viral video in which your family or friends appear. They show up on your doorstep begging for help.
  • You are consumed by the thought of bombs. Where will they come from? How many will there be before they take you down?
  • You’ve just picked up a snack when there’s a knock at the door. When you open it, there is no one there. You’re okay, until you look down.
  • This painting is not what it appears to be, and it’s a matter of life and death for you to discover what it’s really showing.
  • There appears to be a small kitchen on the second floor of your house that you don’t remember, but you rush up to it anyway. There’s a horrible odor coming from it.
  • You’re stranded on an island, and the only rescue is a stranger in a raft, who’s approaching you. What signs do you look for that let you know you should take your chances and get on board?
  • Two penguins are playing on an ice floe. One slips over the other one. Which quickly goes to help him up?
  • A letter arrives, and you can’t believe it. Read it again to make sure. Shaking fingers reach for the old family photograph.
  • You’ve always heard that it’s best to forget the past, but you can’t. Your history is hidden somewhere in the pages of a book.
  • Someone warns you not to leave your room. A they told you to leave your house, never to come back. You do it anyway.
  • A book of matches lies on the coffee table. You open it, and it looks like there’s only one match inside, but with just enough room for one word.
  • You have to work tonight at a place you don’t want to be. You know that you’ll be scared. But you have to do it anyway. Who needs you? What’s going to happen?
  • You have a blind date tonight, but you’re married. He’s noted this, unknown to you. Everything is going perfectly until he brings out the rope.
  • You’re sitting in a hospital bed, recovering from an unpleasant event. Two police officers approach you and ask if you can help them.
  • Someone robbed a store downtown, but they were caught on camera. You’re the cop investigating the crime…and you suspect it’s your mother. You have just 48 hours to prove it.
  • You hear footsteps upstairs. Despite being marked with numbers, this door looks unable to be opened.
  • You’re trapped in a room in which people think you’re a criminal. And you are. Can you get out of this one?
  • You’ve looked over at your bed. Now look back the other way. Your high school crush is standing there.
  • Thunder rumbled in the background, sounding like the low drum roll of an orchestra pile-driving the ground…and then you noticed the sky.
  • The man who wanted the file was less than an inch away from the case. Just one inch closer and he could have it.
  • Your phone rings and you hear the voice of someone you haven’t heard from in ages — but, when you answer, no one’s there.
  • You’d invented the ultimate weapon. As long as you used it for good, all was well. But do bad things make you a bad person?
  • You find the notice in your desk that would tip off whoever it was to how much you know about their plans, and you realize that you have to run.
  • You just got off the phone with your mom while on the road. Now you hear the music playing behind her.
  • It’s a sunny day, you decide to go surfing. You spend the morning out in the sun. What caused you to end up under a big umbrella in the waves?
  • Your neighbors are rude and you don’t like them at all. One day you find yourself wondering when the last time they actually washed dishes? The urge becomes too much so you confront them and ask. What happens?
  • The graffiti artist slowly stands up, his tools in hand. He’s young, but the look in his eyes shows that this wasn’t his first time.
  • There is a new computer game out. Everyone is going gaga over it. Except for you — you’ve never been a video game person before.
  • You’ve hit that strange man in the back of the head hard enough that you think he should be unconscious, but there’s something wrong with him. He gets up and starts laughing. What the heck have you done to him?
  • First one leaf, then another and another, until finally the branches on the oak tree are bare. You wonder why they’re bare like me.
  • Your eyes open and you see the face of a man you’ve seen on the news but couldn’t believe existed. He’s got a gun pointed at you.
  • Your hands are bound and you can feel a burning flush spread across your skin. What are they going to do?
  • The lawyers are yelling and your prospects look grim, but you realize you have one ace up your sleeve.
  • A letter arrives with your name written on the envelope in a way that makes you think it was written with blood.
  • You decide to take a ride in the mountains. The area has had a few sudden disappearances. You wonder about what might have happened to them.
  • Hungary’s Csonka Marble quarry, site of the Csonka Line, one of the deepest, longest and child coffins found completely encased in stone.
  • You are walking by yourself in the woods when a backpack places itself on your shoulders and starts to direct your movement.
  • You pull his coat. He says nothing. He pulls yours, and follows you out. His clothing is off-white, his gloves brown. He takes out a notebook and proceeds to ask you a series of odd questions…
  • There’s someone in your house. You know this because you can hear them creeping around… Now, where did that gun go?
  • Your deal just went south. The killer was a he but the cop was a she. Suddenly, police in riot gear burst into your room — and your career is on a one-way ride to takedown status.
  • The crowd is chanting your name, but you aren’t anybody special — you’re just a regular person working your way up to something big.
  • You’ve just found your true love, and are getting ready to take a vacation with them. You open up your bottom drawer and notice that all of your old, unread copies of the Twilight book series are missing. Every single one of them.
  • You run at him, your fists flailing furiously, but he doesn’t move. “Give it back! Give it back!” you scream.
  • You have everything you could ever want in life, but when you turned around to look at it, the world had vanished around you.
  • You spot your best friend hiding something from you. Her face looks guilty, but you decide to leave it be.
  • You finally make it to the other side, and to your car, to escape the threat that’s on your tail. However, whoever is after you has a plan for your escape.
  • Your bones, they show through your thin skin, a sign of poverty and homelessness. But though you’re skin and bones you have extraordinarily good hearing.
  • Your body jolts. Moments ago, you were sound asleep, but an odd sound outside your room has awoken you with a start.
  • Your pupils squeeze their eyes shut as another defining force pushes them down, pinning them to their desk. It seems like it’ll never let them up. They welcome the darkness.
  • A murderer is holding you captive. He’s seen your face. You’re about to be killed. He begins asking for confessions, but you have nothing to confess.
  • Strange things have been happening with your cell phone. One day, you stay off the grid intentionally. When you come back, everyone in the surrounding area has a new phone number – yours.
  • Somewhere someone is speaking to you over their computer…but when you sit in front of your own computer, there is no response.
  • You have just awoken from a dream where you thought you saw your loved one die. When you reached them, they were dead.
  • Your husband or wife has just had a terrible accident. Although they survive, against all odds, they’re never quite the same.
  • The police fire to ask you to turn your phone off, and then the officer leading the group tells you that you need to shut it down. You feel your whole body go cold — they must have found him.
  • Honk! Honk! You just got cut off by a white van, and you notice the word “naughty” written on its back bumper.
  • There’s someone else inside your house, and they’ve been there for a long time, but you haven’t realized it yet. And they’re growing stronger every day while you move further into ignorance and loneliness.
  • Your girlfriend got in a car accident and has been killed, and ever since, you’ve been hearing someone talking behind you. Now every time that someone is available to take you to work, you always hear them say, “Hey, don’t be scared of this…”
  • “Life isn’t a game,” the man mused as he looked through his binocs, “It’s just a puppet show, but people like to think they’re playing for keeps.”
  • A strange man is watching your every move. You know it’s a strange man, but you can’t remember how you know.
  • You have just finished setting up a snare to catch the person who disappeared your spouse, ally or partner but you have hidden behind a fake wall and you can hear the family members coming up the stairs. You remain silent, but “Adam”, a series of noises that resemble a deep, thunderous voice, whispers in your head, speaking in broken English and telling you to do unusual actions.
  • You’re sitting in your hotel’s breakfast room. You spot something under a chair. You lean down to retrieve it. When you stand back up, you hear a click.
  • A loud, rhythmic thumping coming from inside the walls, or possibly the floor, suddenly starts, above your head.
  • A dark storm rips through, and when the sun comes up, the sky is melted, and the clouds are the same color as the demolished earth.
  • A single mouthwash container flies off the shelf and into the air, defying all logic. How did this happen?
  • You’re in a toy store looking for something for your godchild — who loves to play with you — but you keep seeing toys that aren’t right.
  • Someone knocks on the door and your heart skips a beat. There’s nowhere to hide and it’s coming closer
  • You read your novel aloud, hoping to dramatically insert obnoxious coughs, laughs and playful swears into awkward paragraphs. Nothing works.
  • You find a mysterious, triangular-shaped package in a mailbox and decide to take it from there. Lay out the plot in a one page plot map.
  • You’ve just pulled off the perfect crime and are now hiding out in luxury. But you find out that the killer of your beloved is still out there. What do you do?
  • A man breaks into your home and you’re sure he’s going to kill you. But instead he paints a portrait of you.
  • It caused you to sit up in your bed in cold sweat. You didn’t understand why, but you definitely knew that you wanted to forget everything you just saw.
  • A stranger tells you the most frightening story you have ever heard. The next day, the stranger goes missing.
  • Every morning when you turn on the shower and get ready to shave, you still find them staring at you as the blood drips from their slit wrists.
  • Picking up the phone, you suddenly realize that you’re calling the number that keeps appearing in your dreams and nightmares. What do you do when an unfamiliar voice answers?
  • A wrenching thought hits. What if this cloth is wrapped around the bone of some innocent victim. How many other bones are out there?
  • You always feel like someone is following you. One day, you feel particularly paranoid, and keep an eye and ear out for anyone suspicious.
  • They’re just figurines, your mother used to say. But why did they always seem to move when you walked by?
  • Your gift is your years of wisdom. You’ve been known for ages in your village or place of residence, as the person that helps those in need. One day your wisdom is questioned and the thought occurs that even you might not be infallible. What do you do?
  • You wake up on a boat headed out to sea, but you forgot to bring your photo album. Why can’t you remember the trip at all?
  • Running… running for your life through the cold night away from people chanting “You Will Die.” What are they going to do with you now that they’ve finally caught up with you?
  • Someone walks in calling your name. You look up from your work and he is finally there, mouth open to speak. You drop your pen and stand to welcome him. Which ghost is it?
  • Someone calls you on the phone, but it’s a wrong number. The person on the other side of the line seems all too aware of that, but keeps you on the phone for a reason they won’t say — what happens next?
  • You find a piece of metal in a dresser drawer and discover it’s made of a material you’ve never seen before.
  • You’re a treasure hunter. You know you’re getting close to that big buck, but whatever you’ve got to do, you’ve got to find it alone.
  • You’re atop a fire escape, looking through a window at a happy couple on the couch, when a scream rings out.
  • Someone breaks into your house in the middle of the night and attacks you. What is the object they have demanded you hand over?
  • Your physical senses go, and you are thrust into a world of color, shapes and sounds you’ve never experienced. What happens to you?
  • Your twins wake up and cry for you, like they did when they were infants — except they’ll never walk again.
  • There is no such thing as perfect security. While this topic has been permanent fixtures in crime dramas and films for decades, it’s a definite must if we’re talking about some suspense and thriller…
  • You’re walking along the street and you spot someone who looks very familiar, just walking down the same street. You follow him, intrigued.
  • Haunted house in Indiana. Two characters must activate the ghost via solving a puzzle pieced together with a single red Lego piece from a chair, a small gold pocket watch with a notch cut from the top, and a pincushion made from thread held with a small silver pocket spoon belonging to the kin of the first character’s family.
  • You enjoyed your holiday then went on a cruise but two weeks into it you suspected something was wrong.
  • You’re held captive in a chair, a gun held to your head, about to be executed. How do you get out of this?
  • Cling. Clang. Clink. Clunk. That’s the sound of a piano falling from the second story — the outside of the second story — of a distant house.
  • Something comes running out of the fog right at you and a feeling of terror overwhelms you. What is it?
  • People come over to your house and admire your new cool Yorkshire Terrier. Only you never heard a bark.
  • A lost child is stubbornly digging a hole instead of looking for her mom. You know why she’s doing this, and you vow to end the crisis peacefully.
  • After you’re released from jail, your phone rings at 3 am. You can’t figure out who it could be, so you answer it…
  • It begins with a question, thrown out into the field of stars that just won’t go away — and the answer has never been more important . . .
  • You love your spouse more than anything, but you come home one day to find them washing the blood out of clothes…
  • You wake up from a bad nightmare. Nothing is out of the ordinary. But when you go back to bed, the nightmare begins again.
  • It’s only after you switch everything off that you notice it waiting for you in the corner of your eye.
  • Someone says, if you go down this dark street, you’re going to die. You say, I’ll risk it and go anyway. Why?
  • You packed your children into the backseat of your car, told them you were just going to the store. Someone is following you.
  • You awaken from shock to realize that what you were dreaming isn’t pretend. And the nightmare has just begun.
  • You’re racing against the clock, trying to decode an encrypted message to save the world — and your daughter.
  • You live in a home with a “normal” family. You are not part of this family. Or maybe you are. You have to try and find out who you really are — you don’t have much time.
  • An old, leather suitcase lies on the ground, the symbol for a missing person on the lid. What do you do?
  • Someone stuck a note under your door, right under a puddle of water that got it wet. What does the note say?
  • Goliath, the FBI puts out an all-points bulletin with DeSandre. Your first instinct is to run away… But that would only make things worse for you.
  • Your boss puts your daily boring job in high-gear. Just as you start to flap your tiny wings, the ledge flips up and dumps you out the…
  • Understanding didn’t come in a flash. It was an achingly slow dawning, almost not worth the waiting for.
  • You know you shouldn’t go into the room. But the thing inside just might give you the secret to immortality …
  • Remember, you can use any of these ideas as a basis for a summary outline of your thriller. Remember, you also need a compelling plot, an engaging introduction, and some killer last lines!
  • At one of the corners of an intersection, you spot a little girl—all alone, with no one else around.
  • Your feet shuffle along the dusty ground and all you can hear at this point is loud sirens in the distance. Until you hear them grow closer.
  • You sit bolt upright in bed, desperate to catch your breath as you reach across the empty bed for her.
  • You agreed to deliver a box containing things you could not imagine ever needing again, let alone seeing.
  • After an endless day, you finally get your day off. You travel to your favorite coffee place, enjoying the cool breeze and the sun. Except… something isn’t right. There’s something on the ground — and it’s very, very still.
  • You like to travel and explore the deep woods. One day you find an abandoned house, but it’s not really abandoned.
  • Someone offers to help you cross the street. You don’t need their help — you know what’s on the other side.
  • Someone has planted evidence proving you’ve committed a crime. It is soon found and you’ll go to jail. You know what the evidence is. How do you get rid of it, or destroy it?
  • Jordan Moore was the kind of the guy who always said too much. Most curious of his indiscretions was how he’d always somehow managed to get away with it. People had an inexplicable habit of overlooking Jordan. Thanks to such considerations, Jordan lived by the alluring credo by which luck favors the bold, which worked nicely in his line of work as a jewel thief…
  • Return to your chair where you write your story, and you see a note — The word you have written on your pad attached to it.
  • You’re searching for answers when you hear a knock on your window pane — someone just checking to make sure you’re okay.
  • You arrive at your new home, ready for your new job, and realize you have no idea what the job is, or who you’re working for.
  • Representing your country brings with it a heavy weight. Imposters hijack your identity to take its place.
  • You have a guardian angel that people can’t see. He doesn’t speak English, can barely fly, and you often feel like you’re lugging around a big bag of heavenly free weights, but you’d never trade him in. You’re in a crowded room one day, when you catch sight of angels — real angels — surrounding everyone in the building you’re in. If you were to point to the closest one out of the group, what happens next?
  • You stand in front of the mirror and can’t come up with a good excuse why your reflection isn’t looking back.
  • You’re deep into the country woods looking for a cabin when you come to a stop in the parking lot of a beer garden. You hear a rustle in the woods and the tinkle of a beer bottle. What does this mean?
  • A zombie apocalypse has gutted civilization. The story begins with a woman, but this woman is different. What makes her different?
  • You arrive home from vacation to find parts of your home have been rearranged. Why have you been robbed, again?
  • You see her at the diner every night. You watch her sleep at night. She doesn’t know you’re there. She’s the one.
  • For one unbearable moment time stands still, and you see in front of your eyes all the death and destruction that could have been – that will be caused by your actions. What do you do?
  • You have refused, and yet someone is still determined to send you on a mission that will try everything you are made of.
  • You come home one day and your front door is wide open. You know by the items scattered across the foyer that a struggle has taken place.
  • You wake from a restless night if sleep to find a stranger looking back at you from the mirror. When you move to pull the covers back to go to sleep you see them in the mirror still looking at you and smiling at you.
  • You have, in your bag, a rock that was given to you by a young child. Apparently there is something vaguely diabolical about it.
  • The first Tuesday of every month, you take a morning train into New York City. That’s why when the conductor screams he can’t stop the train, you know something terrible is happening.
  • As the figure rises from the body, you notice, with a sense of deep sudden terror, that it has four eyes.
  • A murder investigation has begun, but something is off about the state’s investigation — and by “something,” you mean the victim.
  • You’ve moved into a new house but something’s not quite right. What’s the source of the problem and how do you deal with it?
  • A lot of your friends all go to the same nightmarish festival. The friends who return are different. Warier. Harder. Colder.
  • The death of a loved one might be the end of life—but it is also the beginning of something else… so begins a story of the darkest form of revenge. Add a twist to your whodunit by including the element of horror.
  • You were always nervous when you wrote her name inside a heart. Then you met her. Maybe this is the end?
  • Something is not right in the Jones’ house. You know it, they know it, but no one wants to put their finger on it.
  • You look down towards your feet and see them entangled in the root-like wire dancing under your feet.
  • The hot sting from your mug burns into your hands after too much of a sip making you cry out. But when you look, your hands are clean.
  • You look at your reflection, then suddenly your reflection starts looking at you, its murky human eyes blinking and staring.
  • It’s been just another day. You decide to get a drink at the bar and, on your way, run into your worst fear.
  • You bought a new house, a relic of a different time. But now a murder has been committed at exactly the time of night that you happen to be there.
  • Your family is unconscious on the floor and there’s an eerily unfamiliar woman standing over them. She calls you by your name.
  • Green neon lights flash around the room. A man sits down at the piano and begins to play. His fingers smoothly sweep across the orange worn keys.
  • The cab you’re currently riding in won’t stop because of a flat tire. The driver says, “Don’t worry, I’ll stop if we run out of fuel.”
  • Every time your protector turns around, something happens. Maybe someone’s trying to kill them, or maybe they have schizophrenia and are not paranoid at all — however, they think that someone is after them.
  • There is someone in your room but they are invisible. You call the police but they can’t find anyone.
  • You’re picking out your clothes when you feel something on your shoulder. You look up and see someone you loved very dearly.
  • You’re eating your sandwich at your desk. Suddenly, you feel the stinging sensation of a tiny bullet hitting your neck. You slap at the area reflexively.
  • Your every nerve is as tight as a string on a violin. A certain calmness takes over, and you know that if you move too fast or speak too fast you might lose everything.
  • The phone rings, and it’s a man asking to speak with a man he believes you know. Is there a man you know? If so, who is he?
  • The car brakes in time to avoid a cat dog wavering on the side of the road. Nervous laughter and fear come together as you go to see what has happened.
  • A silent alarm is going off inside the house — but if you’re wrong when you check the alarm, you won’t go to prison. You’ll end up in a coffin.
  • If someone asked you to tell the story of your life in one sentence, would you accept the challenge?
  • You push the crate under the table, but it’s still not hidden. You pile some papers on top, but you keep imagining the ominously packed crate, waiting to be found.
  • You’ve won a new job for your company. But as you settle down to do it, you realize that the work is the same — only it’s been set for your favorite in-game character.
  • You’re in the process of creating a new start-up company when all of the sudden your nemesis– the competitor you loathe that has struggled before but never made strides to actually give you a run for your money — outdoes you.
  • During a routine traffic stop your partner is taken away to “answer a few questions.” You can either try to stop him or go with him to answer questions, too.
  • Your junior year of college was placed on hold due to your family needing more money to pay tuition. You start working at your uncle’s farm that summer. Until then, you knew eggs, milk, and butter, but you had no idea just what it was that happens on a farm. You perform a task that shocks you.
  • You’re fighting for your life. Your guard was cracked, but now you can’t seem to back away correctly.
  • “You cheated!” she says. You’re both at the peak of your careers — Architect and Violinist. But when their performances intersect, it becomes a showdown of epic—and gruesome — proportions.
  • You’re conducting an interview for a new job as an officer in a crime unit. Your subject seems to answer all of your questions correctly and is very convincing. Are you being lied to, or is your subject truly innocent?
  • Your stomach twists as you crack open the door. There’s something out there, sitting in your chair. Something you knew would be here.
  • You’re in a car with the windows rolled up, the doors locked, and a trash bag covering any hope of breathing fresh air. And yet, you’re still terrified.
  • Someone has just told you that you have two days left to live. You sit down to write your life story.
  • You feel the light, smooth sentence in your hands. You stroke the words with your fingertips, careful not to smudge them…but smudge them you do.
  • There’s an abandoned warehouse on the edge of town. No one’s ever been inside. Then one day, you pay a visit…
  • You stand just outside your house, looking through the window, watching someone you love stroke themselves, pleasuring themselves to the sight of you in the room.
  • You wake up in the middle of the night to see a shadowy figure standing over your bed, watching you sleep.
  • You move through the forest and stop when you hear the sound of buffalo in the distance, then immediately realize you’re not in Yellowstone anymore.
  • We’ve sent a student out to the cabin you always go to to do your alone work. Write from the perspective of their disappearance.
  • Your acquaintance tells you that after the sun goes down at night, he wishes he could punch a monster with glowing eyes.
  • You’re leaving a concert hall when you find a peculiar red badge lying on the ground. Is it the key to something important?
  • You’re a programmer, and your boss walks in your office a few seconds after you wrote the code. What did the code do?
  • Someone you love has been kidnapped by an unknown criminal. He tells you that he will only release your loved one if you can live in his world for just one day without getting caught.
  • Someone’s watching you as you practice your violin. Unfortunately, that someone has another very sick and disturbing hobby.
  • You and another person are lost at sea in a lifeboat. How long do you survive before turning on one another?
  • Trapped in an underground tomb, you open a wrapped mummy case and find an item you recognize. Young. Unwrap the mummy case a little to see if it’s you.
  • You join a group at your local coffee shop. Before long, the energetic talker everyone hates moves to your table and starts telling you about her crazy night.
  • You’re feeding your horse carrots in your backyard one day when another horse bursts through your fence.
  • You’re climbing up the stairs of an old stairwell when you hear a voice calling you by your first name. You keep moving anyway.
  • In a suburban neighborhood, a woman and her shivering young son violently slam a pillow over the face of her sleeping husband and drag him outside their vacation home.
  • Your cell phone rings and the caller ID shows that it’s your mother. You answer and realize it’s not your mother on the other end.
  • Your parents always said not to bother going out at night because it was a bad place. Compare that with the 10-year-old you.
  • There’s a killer on the run, one who’s responsible for several brutal murders. Speaking through a voice scrambler, he demands the launch codes to launch America’s nuclear arsenal. A screen flickers on, and the man appears, amid a cacophony of shouted voices. He’s with a huge mob, screaming obscenities. The voice scrambler is crackling.
  • A wave of panic starts to flood through your body when your duplex neighbor calls you over for a visit.
  • You’re on your way home from work and a stranger on the subway starts having a seizure. You discover that some people around you help — while others look on with disdain.
  • Carried away by the wind, a stranger’s uncapped perfume serenades you. Closed tightly, your nostrils scowl when you sniff this silent intruder.
  • You’ve just bought a new phone — you’re messing around with the settings when you look at the back of it. A serial number, just like the ones the phone companies use, is etched in the metal. There’s something at the bottom of the number, though. A phone number — a very long phone number, followed by a list asterisks the length of your forearm.
  • An odd talking book reports that the world is about to destroy itself in twelve hours, and you’ve promised to provide proof.
  • You’re seated outside and notice a strange flicker in the trees. The light suddenly dims and you’re no longer seated alone.
  • You are on the run from the soldiers who were supposed to have your back. They’re tracking you through the forest.
  • Half a million people are fighting to get on an old rust bucket, slowly making their way south. Why are they so desperate to leave a free country? And why do you feel like they aren’t just crossing the border — crossing the border?
  • Your loved one is missing. The police say they think the person’s been taken for money. You think otherwise. What do you do?
  • As you were heading back to your apartment from grocery shopping, you’re grabbed violently by two thugs.
  • You’re at home with your family when you realize that everyone may not “come back” from their next mission. The gun hangs in your hand — none of them do.
  • The man on the other end of the phone frightens you more than anything else you’ve ever experienced.
  • A strange mix of voices, loud talking and celebration rips your family away from your home, and into a crazy and frightening world.
  • The papers are always full of it. Body found here—bottom half eaten by the dinosaurs, as if the deaths were some kind of warning.
  • You’ve discovered some dirt on someone and it’s the kind of dirt that can make you rich — if it means anything.
  • Your worst nightmare begins when you wake up. Dreams are supposed to be your safe haven. What are you going to do now?
  • You are dressed like a mannequin in a store named areAlly. When you appear to customers, you stand in front of the window as if you are waiting for a bus. There is no sidewalk or roof where you are, but they still seem to see some other form of a world outside the window. When you arrive the next afternoon, instead of seeing the rooftop where stray cats perch, where transportation simply sits idle, where the yellow kisses the world goodbye in arcs and illuminated speed lines, some of you finally crown it a night.
  • Your town’s cooking competition is going on today. You hear the winner announced on the radio. You really think you could’ve cooked a better meal.
  • The top of your pencil snapped. Before you reach for a new one, you notice something written on it. You listen.
  • Where there had once been three buildings in the park there is now only one — and it’s tall enough to reach the sky.
  • There was an order, sanctioned by the government. The woman looked at the photo through the camera lens — the man’s eyes, glitched and glazed over with drugs, scared her a little — and then pressed the button.
  • Your hands are tied in front of you. Your parents are in front of you with your ticket out. You have to choose who dies first in front of your eyes.
  • Someone knocks on your door while you’re relaxing, listening to the rain. It’s an unexpected visitor.
  • Someone you’ve loved for a long time has disappeared. You know where he or she is, but you’re not allowed to tell anyone.
  • See a black necklace with red melting diamonds in the window. Go barging in through the door after it.
  • Someone is coming. You’d know that feeling anywhere. You don’t have much time. You pull out the notebook, and you look down at it.
  • You received a letter. The envelope is uncovered but fine and the words are scrawled at the back. Do you read it?
  • At night, after everyone else is asleep, you turn on every single light in the house. You don’t go to sleep until the sun rises.
  • You’ve escaped from your kidnappers by jumping into the backseat of a car. However, you need to do something really gross to stay unnoticed.
  • Someone needs you, even though you never asked for help. It is now up to you to save them, or live with the guilt for the rest of your life.
  • You’re driving home late at night, but there’s no sign of trouble until you notice the unfamiliar number on your cell phone.
  • You’re a stranger somewhere. As you start to introduce yourself to a man standing next to you in the line, you notice he isn’t eating anything. Instead, he stiffly continues to scan the room. You turn back to your salad and hope this man doesn’t do anything to draw attention to himself.
  • You’re a detective and you’ve just found a murder weapon. You’re not sure if it’s legally admissible. What do you do to make sure?
  • Happiness is all you want. It’s something of a vague, primarily abstract concept, but a little more focused than simple ‘contentment.’
  • There is a new law in effect. Any crime can be forgiven, if the victim forgives the criminal for what they’ve done. Most people are skeptical about this new law, but it quickly becomes clear that there are some scenarios in which someone could commit murder, and get away — scot-free — without punishment.
  • You hear a sound in your closet. Deciding it’s probably nothing, you look. It’s your dad — standing there with a gun in his hand.
  • You walk into your kitchen. The phone is ringing. When you pick it up, someone informs you that your daughter has been kidnapped and both you and your wife must pay a hefty ransom, or she will be killed. You go to your wife only to find her lifeless form hanging from the ceiling fan.
  • A loud lump forms in the back of your throat — and you feel that lump, slowly rising up to your mouth.
  • For peaceful relaxation, you board a tiny cottage on a remote island. But that’s when you discover someone has rigged a bomb in the kitchen.
  • You watch as a man stops a woman on her way out of a store. You know what he wants. They’re going to kill her. Do you alert someone? If so, who?
  • You’ve just looked into the eyes of your killer. Theirs are more expressionless and frightening than the depths of outer space.
  • You’ve just got the ring back from your dog’s scratchy paws, but now, instead of removing it, you find yourself putting it back on your own finger, way too big for it.  Who gave you this ring and why?
  • The sky was different and the air smelled odd, but soon you forgot all about it, lost in your thoughts.
  • You drink and drink and drink, always careful to keep the bottles hidden. But there’s one location you’re reluctant to hide. The kitchen.
  • You notice that someone has broken into your home and they’ve been watching you through your windows.
  • You shake down the man guarding the entrance to a secret place. What do you do or say to sway him to your side?
  • An extraordinary amount of blood has been ripped from a patient’s arm. But it was done with a single, precise cut.
  • You are on leave. Alone at the cabin. You receive an unexpected call from your lover. Why do you keep snubbing her?
  • You go for a walk with another person… but it’s not even one hundred feet before one of you crashes.
  • You wake up in the middle of the night to find someone in your bedroom displaying polite yet unsettling behaviour.
  • There’s a killer on the loose, and you just found out that he’ll kill one of your coworkers. You have the power to save one of them. Who do you sacrifice?
  • The stranger on the train reveals herself to be a wizard/witch. “Wait!” you protest, “I don’t have my license with me!”
  • An old man stands at the apex of a crumbling staircase, and as each stair crumbles under your weight, it tells a story from the man’s long-past life.
  • Someone begins to stalk you. You try your best to get away, but it seems as though there’s nowhere for you to run to.
  • Your roommate is nowhere to be found, and you’ve just found blood trickling down the side of the wall.
  • You’re a fish. When they pull you out of the water, you almost look human. You wonder who you were in your previous life. You also wonder why everyone keeps pointing and screaming.
  • You wake up to find yourself in a town you’ve never been to before, and your memory is completely blank!
  • Every frightening thing ever written, every emotion thought to be negative, is created through one human being’s very own brain.
  • You’re sitting in a stranger’s car watching a movie when suddenly the door slams, locking both of you inside. What then?
  • His/She walks past the four individuals crammed into cramped quarters, all staring disbelievingly at their newest cellmate. The warden’s face was deadpan with the knowledge of what was to come.
  • Someone is watching you. Tracking your movement. Have they singled you out or are they waiting for you?
  • Chase it. You can’t. If you get too close it will paralyze you, you freeze in your tracks. It’s too far away for you to tell what it is, but you know it’s coming your way.
  • Perhaps the most terrifying horror one can write is that which exists within the human mind. Write a horror story in which the horror comes from the mind of only one character, with no external influence.
  • You’re playing Reacher at your piano. Someone off-stage starts clapping and suddenly you’re in a completely different place.
  • You spend the night in a strange city. But it’s not that night that has your heart rate rocketing, but what you hear the next morning.
  • You enter the room and step on someone’s fingers. You are rushing to help, but suddenly the fingers snap back, attached to the hand that’s grabbing your ankle.
  • Struggling out, you finally reach your front door, but when you try to unlock it, you find that it’s been tampered with from the outside. Who did it?
  • You are in your condo and an intruder breaks into the door. You run into your living room. What’s there?
  • Everyone seems to go about their lives as usual, even the ones who were once close to you. Do they not notice you anymore?
  • You’re walking home one day when you hear a distinct scream. You rush to the side of the road to see if you can help, but what you find is — well, not what you were expecting.
  • You awake from a dream where you could breathe underwater so well you could swim to the bottom of the lake in your backyard. You try to go back to sleep again but you can’t.
  • You’re at the zoo and everything is quiet until you notice the elephant in the room — someone is following you.
  • The elevator stops between floors and a low-pitched voice says, “This elevator will be opening its doors soon enough.” It is.
  • While doing your weekly grocery shopping, you’re adjusting the grocery list in your hand to make sure you don’t forget anything, when you suddenly notice a strange man staring at you from across the aisle. His eyes bore into you like cold steel as he taps a piece of paper against his palm. It appears to be some sort of document.
  • You see it coming. There’s really no avoiding it. You’re in the distance, glued to the approaching lights… It’s almost certainly not a cop.
  • You are sitting in a busy cafe typing a message on your phone. You look up and see a man walking toward you, smiling. The door behind you opens. Will you run or will you stay here?
  • For the past week, you’ve been receiving strange mail containing eerie drawings, and you can’t help but feel someone is targeting you…Why?
  • You have been given a strange photo filled with an unknown mess of letters and numbers. What does it mean?
  • A rattling bang outside your front door means someone is knocking for you to come out. You’re welcome.
  • You are sitting in the bathroom, leaning against the counter with your eyes closed. You hear a voice coming from behind you.
  • Someone put a collar on your neck with hundreds of blinking lights and you have no idea what it means. A note on your door reads “Be back soon.” What do you do next?
  • You drive to the mall, excited for the day ahead of you. This time, your mom has given you money to buy yourself a present.
  • One day, two mysterious and identical letters arrive in the mail. That fateful day, all the letters are pushed over the edge of the table. By the next morning, they all become traumatized and burst into flames.
  • A startling crime has been committed, and only the clues that escaped the law enforcement agents left no trail. Write about the case.
  • Your neighbour keeps starting to talk, but then draws back. He tells you why he thinks you’re the person to help him with his problem.
  • You can’t feel your legs. You can’t feel anything below your neck. Try to get up, but you’re frozen to the couch. Try to scream, but no sound comes out of your mouth.
  • A murder weapon lies on the floor, its victim’s blood visibly spreading from the body before you. What do you do?
  • You’ve found the perfect gift for the person you care for most. But, you have to make one little alteration to make it a perfect fit.
  • Your best friend invites you to a party, where you meet a stranger who claims she is your sister — but there is nothing in the way she looks, or even talks, that denotes it.
  • You successfully travel through a wormhole and wind up back in the past. All you have to do is change something that will cause your loved ones to live. And there’s nothing in the future you’ll miss because it doesn’t exist yet.
  • You don’t know why you picked up this burner phone, but you just needed to be doing anything but sitting on the ledge.
  • An old, forbidden legend tells of a seraph who guards a secret treasure buried in the nearby woods. You think you’ve finally found the treasure’s location.
  • You wake up and find himself in a bizarre version of his own life. It isn’t a question of if the walls really are closing in, but when.
  • You’re running on the track when you get a sudden headache. When you wake, there’s something on your neck . . .
  • A man you thought of as a friend wants to meet in private. He says he has something to give you, but all is not what it seems.
  • The vampire stood in your way. You growled at her, but apparently turning your back on the undead is considered rudeness.
  • “I know what you did.” Your heart stops and the drops of sweat begin to form on your forehead as you become acquainted with the sound of a key unlocking your door, creaking open. There’s nothing you can do to defend yourself, your mind racing for a place to hide or something to use as a weapon. But then you hear the soft sound of a mother’s voice say, “You nailed it.”
  • You have been obsessively searching for something for days. You find it, tucked into a far-off corner, and grab it without hesitation. Then you see that one set of fingerprints are smudged and not yours. You look around – only to see that one set is smudged and not yours, signed by YOU.
  • You’re the last one left, and they’re hunting you. Staying a step ahead is crucial, but sometimes you’re so frightened, you just want it to be over.
  • Tonight at midnight, every house on your block will disappear, like a game of Chicken before your eyes.
  • There is a person you love very much and upon realizing this, you know there is only one chance for you to save them.
  • Your balance is off and everything shifts slightly off its axis and puts you on the defensive. Or, your balance is perfect. For now.
  • It’s the weekend, and you’re laid up with the flu. The fever saps your energy. You’re shaking so hard you can hardly drive yourself home.
  • An unidentified creeper keeps sticking their heads through the grate in your cellar ceiling. You keep chasing them away, but they keep coming back. Eventually, you crawl through the cellar and follow one of their heads into the hallway of your building. Why? Why won’t they leave you alone? Have you eaten your flesh and they aren’t getting any, so now they’re starving? Oh god.
  • A man hands to you a newspaper clipping of a child from years ago, with the child looking exactly like your son.
  • Your window blows open, but you can’t see who or what left it open — because you’re scared to look upside down.
  • Your intense research into the paranormal has finally come to an end as the final pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place.
  • Your boss tells you an aircraft will be transporting nuclear missiles. They will only be using the runway for fifteen minutes at a time.
  • Policemen are standing around a dead body asking, “What happened here?” And then they start beating you.
  • You just have to check the backyard one last time before bed. But nothing is out of the ordinary. You close the backdoor and the harsh sound of the wooden door slamming shut makes your heart stop for a moment.
  • You wake up one morning and find out everyone you know has a dark secret. Where does your story begin?
  • Your hands are tied behind your back and you’re seated on a chair, staring into the barrel of a gun aimed at you by a dark figure standing over you. What do you say?
  • You sneak a look outside just as a giant statue falls from its position on the cliffside to the sand.
  • A stranger hands you a bag at the bus stop. Just before you leave, you look inside, and you know you can never go back.
  • Your brother is standing in the shadows staring at you. Your legs kick beneath the sheets and suddenly he’s standing at your bedside. His eyes reveal the madness inside of him and then he’s gone.
  • The sounds of someone unzipping the tent trailer woke her up that night. It was whistling, exactly the same tune.
  • A valuable archive of meeting minutes and superseded directives from your local council has gone missing. Who in your neighborhood would have the resources or motive to steal it?
  • You have a secret, and only one person figured it out. They know what it is, and they’re using it against you.
  • Who are you going to trust? Someone you used to know? A stranger? Do you trust anyone now? Why or why not?
  • An old man is struck by a car, but what happens to him after will spell out the death of your quiet suburb.
  • You thought you made it. You escaped him… Now he’s found you. You thought he was a joke at first — imagined your phone calls were even.
  • Your family is fighting with each other on the holidays, and when they get up to leave, you notice something that scares you.
  • Your car breaks down at a gas station. While you’re getting help, you notice there’s someone else in the store. He raises his hand as if to wave at you.
  • Your agent calls and tells you someone is interested in buying one of your books. Your book. The first thing you do is
  • Someone’s always there when you get home. Good thing, because you never know what monster will have emerged from your closet in your absence. Your name is Alfred Math.
  • You’ve been locked in the dark room for hours, and you can’t find a way out. You’ve tried calling for help, but no one seems to be coming.
  • It’s been nearly a year since your father disappeared. You never told anyone, or asked anyone for help. Today, a note about your father arrives in your mailbox.
  • You’re walking home from school, laughing about your adventures at summer camp with your best friend — when she suddenly turns into a deer and runs off into the woods.
  • It’s an ordinary day. Someone’s knocking on your door. It’s probably nothing important, but you decide to watch.
  • You never got along with Stacey from work. All the same, you wake up one morning to an epidemic of flowers outside your door.
  • Racing against the clock, your character is searching for something one night. He looks in the fridge, the trash, the cat’s food, blaming everything but the truth.
  • In the few minutes that you have left before your best friend dies, the person responsible decides to tell you everything that led up to this.
  • Someone gave you an antique box as a gift. What do you do when you discover a family secret inside it?
  • There’s a new art exhibit at the art museum, but when the curator pulls back the curtain, an exuberant face looks out at you.
  • A door is slammed shut behind you. You don’t have time to turn around before you feel metal slicing through your skin.
  • Someone approaches you in the dark corner of a party and promises to reveal the truth. But if you follow him, you must give him your heart…a jar full of jelly.
  • Someone wants you dead. Chances are, they don’t want you to find them… because if that happens, they’re the ones who’re dead.
  • Two girls ask you to warm up a new bottle of milk for them. You pour the milk into the bottle and then later smell something foul out of the bottle. What happens next?
  • Cautiously, you approach the window. You think someone is watching you, but you don’t see him or her.
  • You’re driving and a deer jumps out right in front of you. You have to swerve to avoid it. The car spins out of control. This could have been avoided.
  • As you sit down to eat your solitary dinner, a stranger at the next table tells you that everyone in town dies tomorrow… Why will the stranger be sharing this secret?
  • Why does your character smile so much? Statistically, people usually only smile on about twenty percent of the days of their lives, due to the fact that the majority of days are relatively neutral. What makes this character different?
  • You just want to visit your summer hometown, to enjoy its sleepy comfort for a weekend. You don’t know what you did wrong.
  • You tear strips of paper from the evidence and cry into it. You know what you’re doing isn’t right, you’re a cop—but you desperately want them in on the secrets of the photos, your friends who ask you.
  • In an otherwise empty apartment, you come across a newspaper clipping from an entirely different era. It makes you feel inexplicably cold.
  • You want to prove to your twin that you’re more intelligent than they are, or you want to prove to your twin that you’re smarter than them. So, you come up with a scientific experiment and you go about proving it scientifically. Of course, when your twin switches places with you, then you’re going to have to prove that you switched roles too.
  • Your eyes are watering, and the medicine you’ve taken isn’t working. You are overwhelmed by what you see, in the most terrifying way.
  • A job you meticulously planned for all year and waited on for a number of years is set to take place tomorrow. You have put too much into this operation to let it fail now. You will be ready.
  • A stranger bumps into you and then as a way of apology he gives you what he calls a gift. Strangely, you feel compelled to accept it, although there’s something wrong with this gift.
  • You’re out with your friends at a noisy, crowded party. It is a warm night, and late. A million lights have been set up along the beach to illuminate the night sky. A shooting star flutters briefly through the lights, and everyone stands and tries to make a wish before it’s but a blurry tail behind a bright streak of meteor. You stand with them, but as soon as the wish takes shape in your head, the shooting star is gone. At your side, you catch your friend looking away and twisting his ring. There is no doubt — he wishes the same thing you do. You smile at him. Suddenly, he starts laughing, ‘Are you kidding? That’s so cliche.’ He shakes his head, ‘No way I’m wishing that.’ But of course, he’s still holding his ring finger. You smile coolly, a smug smile that says there’s no one here to judge you. He chooses another shooting star, a less obvious one. Even though he’s out of your sight, you still send a silent wish to it.
  • You are in line at the grocery store and a friend calls to tell you he has been stabbed. The person behind you adjusts her shopping list and picks up a package of cookies as she steps in front of you. The knife pulled smoothly from the bottom of the shopping cart, glistening in the fluorescent light.
  • You walk into your backyard and are temporarily blinded. You blink furiously, trying to regain your vision, but, when you’re finally able to make out your surroundings, you’re not even sure what you’re looking at.
  • You’ve always been the kind of person who believes everything they’re told. So when your best friend tells you to follow her down to the local lake at midnight you…
  • “Your newly renovated house is just perfect,” he said, handing you the key from across the table. “But why are there bars on the windows?”
  • You went out after sunset to feed the dog. Now, it’s cold and dark, and you can’t find it. You’re not good with night.
  • You’ve just reconnected with an old friend from school, but it soon becomes clear that their intentions for contacting you might not be as nice as you’d thought. Also, some frighteningly familiar behaviors begin to emerge…
  • You hear loud noises and then footsteps coming closer. Then, through the door, you watch as a silhouette blocks out the light.
  • Your brother and sister-in-law disappeared on their yacht when you were a teenager. They never returned.
  • While investigating a haunted house, you enter a room you don’t recognize — and the door slams closed and locks behind you, the walls begin to close up, and you see what appears to be a ghost in the corner…
  • You’ve had the feeling all day that someone is watching you. Look out the window — you see them now!
  • You’re in an unfamiliar place and a man approaches you, holding a thin black box. Curious, you reach out, unlock and open the box. A stink of burnt flesh emerges. What’s in the box?
  • A friend of yours from college calls you one day. They’ve just been promoted, and in their celebration, have invited the four of you for drinks. They tell you the restaurant is magical and that everyone will have a great time. You come to the restaurant with your friends — but you can see that what is erected in front of you is a nightmare, not a building.
  • A telephone rings in an empty building, far in the distance. Where is the mysterious gunshot coming from?
  • Find one small object with a secret—a voice recorder, photo, etc. Before the end of the day today, someone will take the item or even see that you have it.
  • You’re the last person to see someone who is soon declared to be missing, but you can’t remember it.
  • You’ve just arrived at the house of a close friend, but when you open the door, you discover their dead body.
  • Someone you love is missing and you’re desperate to find them. Was there an accident? Are they in trouble? Are they dead?
  • Your entire family is moving to some far away place. You, thinking you’ll be safer, jump out at the last minute and head in the opposite direction from your family.
  • Someone has just broken into your house when you hear a thunder of barks. A dog has just found out about the interloper.
  • Screams echo from the adjoining apartment. The person cries for a mercy you and only you can give. What do you do?
  • The sound would be enough to wake anyone up, and would you be able to respond appropriately — or will you be too shocked to react quickly enough?
  • You’re at a restaurant and a well-dressed, attractive man is interested in chatting you up. When you try to shake him off, things start getting weird.
  • You’re a private detective, and your latest—and strangest—client wants you to prove someone is guilty of murdering someone by killing them yourself and then having it look like an accident.
  • You’ve worked really hard to make sure no one can find your dirty secret. But now it’s all over the internet, and …
  • Your laptop is marked to set off alarms. Can you make it back to your computer without anyone finding you?

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