No Inspiration? Here are 26 Story Prompts…

It’s been said that there are no new stories. That there are only seven plots, and every story is retelling one of those plots. That may be true – but that only relates to the shape of the story. The characters, the settings and the details… those are enormously variable. Has anybody written a story about robot dinosaurs stealing the Crown Jewels? Or purple goblins exploring the galaxy in search of Grandma Nell’s chocolate chip cookie recipe?

If you’re unable to think of anything, here’s a fun challenge – to come up with one-line prompts for original story ideas, each one beginning with a different letter of the alphabet. You’re welcome to use any of these yourselves – though I might have a go myself!

  • Animals take over a zoo and lock the humans in cages.
  • Bottles wash up on shore from a castaway on a desert island and are discovered by his younger self, before he is stranded.
  • Calligraphy is used to determine people’s status in life, job applications, credit score, etc.
  • During a long and bloody war, a few brave people make a stand for a peaceful resolution.
  • Every day, a young girl follows the same routine – not realising that secret agents are monitoring her.
  • Fed up with his older brother beating him at everything, a small boy tries to even the odds – but things don’t go to plan.
  • Ghosts are scientifically proven – causing major problems for many world religions – but is it ethical to use them as a new, clean source of energy?
  • Halfway around the world, Jennifer has a twin she never knew – and their lives are more alike than she could ever guess.
  • In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth – but the contractors he brought in cut a few corners…
  • Judge Sam Bond presides over a strange and complex case where the defendant is accused by… themselves?
  • Killer koalas sweep across Australia. Can they be stopped?
  • Love blooms at the local flower show between four horticulturalists – but everyone is interested in someone else.
  • Mars is colonised. The first settlers explore their new home, and discover they are not the only new arrivals.
  • Nobody ever sees Mary – no matter how hard she tries to attract their attention.
  • Once upon a time, fairy tales were true – and then the magic disappeared. Now it’s coming back.
  • Police investigate a simple disappearance that rapidly evolves into a complex criminal scheme.
  • Quiz machines are supposed to know the answers, not make the answers you give them come true… right?
  • Robbers break into an old mansion where the owners died years ago… but haven’t stopped moving yet.
  • Somewhere in the jungle, a lost boy struggles to find food and a way out, while a jungle beast stalks him.
  • Trapped in a bunker, a soldier and his treacherous captive must work together to escape.
  • Under the sea, something large and ancient is stirring… and hungry.
  • Vikings arrive on the coast of America, centuries before Columbus, and face a hostile land and people.
  • Whatever Sally does, her parents are always ready to catch her before she can escape the house. Why are they keeping her prisoner?
  • Xanadu was meant to be a utopia. Everyone is very happy there until Eric discovers the world outside its walls is not the wasteland he was taught about.
  • Yellow smiley faces are spray painted on walls across the city. Is it art, gang graffiti, or something far more sinister?
  • Zombies face a new and deadly threat when the first live humans arrive in their community; a zombie horror from the other side.

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