For those who aspire to improve their writing skills, narrative writing prompts can be a useful tool. In many cases, writers find that work begun as the result of a prompt can be revised and polished into a publishable piece. Narrative writing is widely used in short stories, novels, essays, and plays.
To begin your narrative writing, tell a story about how you worked to achieve an important goal in your life, such as losing weight or learning a foreign language. Or, if you want to take this story deep into the realm of fiction, tell a story about you preparations after realizing space invaders were on the way to attack.
Describe a time in which you had a dramatic realization about something after doing a little research. Consider these scenarios to progress the story:
- Your main character realizes their parents aren't truly their parents. Was this hidden for a nefarious reason?
- Your main character discovers a substantial savings account in their own name. Where did it come from?
- Your character has the realization that they have been to this place before - perhaps in a dream or another life.
- A huge betrayal is realized by your character - what is it?
It's the first day at a new job for your main character. As they walk in, things seem amiss. Tell the story with the help of these refining prompts:
- What's wrong? Is it the building, the people, or something else?
- How do the people receive your character?
- What does your character's workspace look like?
- Insert one tiny, recurring detail that makes the first day seem bizarre and eventually explain its meaning.
Describe a time in which your character needed to be brave and go against the opinion of others.
- Your character is wrong in their opinion. What happens when they realize it?
- What is the cost of going against the crowd? Ostracization? Death? Nothing?
- Is there something specific one must do with this group in order to signify their dissent?
- Do people eventually agree with your character?
Tell a story about the biggest fight you ever had with your parents. Take it into fiction with these prompts:
- The woman in the picture isn't your mom. Who is she and what led to this moment?
- The family settles arguments in a very strange way. What is it?
- When the mom points her finger, her power is unleashed. What is it?
- Your character is rescued from the argument. By who?
Describe the most memorable party you have ever attended. A few extra prompts take the story to another level:
- The party takes place in a strange place. Where is it?
- One of the partygoers keeps disappearing and reappearing. Why?
- The music controls the attendees far beyond making them dance. What happens?
- The party is to celebrate something strange. What are they celebrating?
Tell a story about a time emotions got the best of you. Flesh out the story further with these prompts:
- What happened in the moment leading up to your character' emotions overflowing?
- How did the people around your character respond?
- Is there something unusual that happens to your character during emotional moments?
- How does your character calm down?
Write about a time you enjoyed the company of a pet. Escalate the story with these prompts:
- Your character's pet came from somewhere unusual - where?
- The pet tries to warn the character of impending danger. Does your character understand?
- The pet detects supernatural activity in the next room - what happens next?
- The pet turns out to be a robot. Who created the pet and why?
Tell the story of a time you were in a situation that could have led to death. Allow your creativity to take over with these prompts:
- Was the situation intentional or accidental?
- What did your character feel as they realized they might die?
- Suppose your character did slip into death for a moment. What did they see?
- Was the return to life welcomed or disappointing?
Think of a time you felt entirely comfortable with another person. Fictionalize the moment into a narrative story with these prompts:
- What was the relationship between your character and the other person?
- Was the person real, or imaginary?
- What happened when the two characters touched?
- Something abruptly ends the comfort - what was it?
Write about a time you had trouble waking up and starting your day. The story gets more interesting with these prompts:
- Something is stopping your character from getting out of bed. What is it?
- Where did your character awaken? Do they know where they are?
- Do they know who they are?
- Something strange will happen once they set foot off the bed - what is it?
Think of a time a stranger was rude to you. Help your character fictionalize the story with these prompts:
- What happened to the stranger to make them act that way?
- Your character is in danger if they confront the stranger. Why?
- The surrounding crowd rallies behind your character or the stranger. Which one?
- A dramatic battle ensues that far exceeds the gravity of the situation - narrate it.
Keeping a journal of the day's events can be a great way to build narrative writing skills. Sometimes the most mundane moments can make the best stories when you allow your creativity to adjust a few details.