How to use Writing Prompts in a Short Story

Seeking Inspiration for Writers

Have you ever sat at your computer, searching your mind for something to write, knowing you needed to get something on paper with a deadline fast approaching? There are several sources where a writer can go for inspiration. You can read a book, edit an old story, read the newspaper or call a friend and ask them what they are up to. Ideas for stories, poems and articles can be found almost everywhere.

Getting Rid of Writer’s Block

There is a wonderful book you can read called Take 10 For Writers written by Bonnie Neubauer.  This book is filled with over 1000 ideas to get your brain working and the words flowing. This book is filled with ideas and uses a simple creative format to encourage you to look at old ideas from a new angle. I love this book as it has given me lots of ideas for creative writing projects.

Use the Internet for Inspiration

If you are in internet user, there are several writing prompt sites on the internet that can help you as well. Simply type “writing prompts” in the search box of your favorite search engine and you will discover many sites to ease your frustration. My favorite site is: . This site is very simple to use and full of thousands of ideas to get your mind flowing. The one I picked was number 57 which gave me a list of five items I was to use in a short story.

Use the following 5 words in a short story or poem

Plastic bottle

  • Hockey puck
  • Dirty handkerchief
  • Crumpled note
  • Unhinged door

Why Use Writing Prompts

Once you find a writing prompt that peaks your interest, run with it and see where your mind goes. Don’t worry about it making sense, don’t edit as you write – just make something up. Try to think of it as a game for your mind; a game without rules. For an example, I have taken the writing prompt I read and I have started the story below. For fun, think about how you would finish the story.

A Writing Prompt Begins: Crumpled Notes and Handkerchiefs

It was not a good day for Tess; in fact, the whole week sucked! It all began last Sunday when she was running late for ice skating in the park with her best friend Carol. As she left the house, Tess had let the door slam behind her. The screws had worked themselves loose and the unhinged door fell with a crash to the front porch. Disgusted with herself for letting the door slam so hard, Tess had just left the door on the porch; planning to fix it once she got home.

Once at the iced over pond, Tess gave Carol a hug and they took off their shoes and laced their ice skates. Still talking, they headed out to the edge of the pond. They had not seen each other in a while so they were not really watching where they were going. As they rounded the far end of the pond, a hockey puck flew right across their path, causing both women to fall on their knees. Hitting her knee hard on a rough patch of ice, Carol cut her knee, turning the white ice bright red. Trying to help her injured friend, Tess reached into her pocket for her handkerchief but only found a crumpled note she had shoved in her pocket the day before. Quickly shoving the note back into her pocket, Tess reached into her other pocket.  Pressing the handkerchief against her knee, Tess was able to calm Carol and stop the bleeding.

As Tess and Carol inched their way to the side of the frozen pond, one of the boys from the hockey game approached them. “We are so sorry”, the 12-year old boy said, “we did not see you skating on that end of the pond. Are you okay? We really are sorry.” Before Tess could reply, a tall, athletic young man wearing hockey skates approached them, shoving the boy to the side. “I have a first aid kit”, he said, “let me help you.” As the young man helped Carol to a nearby bench, he continued talking. He explained he was the coach of the hockey team and though they usually practice on the indoor rink in town, he felt the boys needed some fresh air and he had driven them to the pond for their practice session. Removing the bloody, dirty handkerchief from her knee, the young coach reached for a plastic bottle filled with water and rinsed the blood from Carol’s knee.


Now it’s your turn….how would you finish this story?


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Filed under Everything Else, Poetry and Stories

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