Character prompts: These prompts focus on a specific character and their personality, backstory, or motivations.
Example: “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger was inspired by the character of Holden Caulfield. Salinger created Holden as a complex and multi-layered character who embodies the angst and confusion of adolescence. The novel explores Holden’s struggles with his identity, his relationships with others, and his sense of alienation from society.
Plot prompts: These prompts give you a starting point for your story’s plot.
Example: “A man wakes up with no memory of who he is and must piece together his past while avoiding danger and uncovering a sinister plot.”
“The Bourne Identity” by Robert Ludlum follows the story of a man who wakes up with amnesia and must try to piece together his past while being pursued by assassins. The novel was inspired by the plot prompt described above, which provides the starting point for the novel’s plot. As the central character tries to unravel the mystery of his past, he discovers that he is a highly trained assassin who has been targeted for elimination by his former employers. The novel is a fast-paced thriller that explores themes of identity, memory, and the cost of violence.
Setting prompts: These prompts ask you to write a story based on a specific setting or environment.
Example: “A remote island with a mysterious past and a small community of people struggling to survive in harsh conditions.”
“The Light Between Oceans” by M.L. Stedman is set on an isolated island off the coast of Australia. The novel was inspired by the setting prompt described above, which provides the backdrop for the novel’s exploration of themes such as love, loss, and the consequences of difficult choices. The story follows the lives of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who live on the island, struggling to maintain their sanity and their marriage in the face of isolation and hardship. When a boat washes up on the island carrying a dead man and a live baby, the couple makes a fateful decision that will have far-reaching consequences for themselves and the people around them. The novel is a poignant and moving meditation on the nature of love and the price of sacrifice, set against the rugged and beautiful landscape of a remote island.
Line prompts: These prompts give you a specific piece of dialogue/line/paragraph to incorporate into your story.
Example: “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy was inspired by the line “Are we still the good guys?”. This phrase is repeated several times throughout the novel and reflects the central characters’ struggle to maintain their moral compass in a post-apocalyptic world. The novel explores themes of survival, sacrifice, and the nature of humanity through the conversations and interactions between the characters.
Image prompts: These prompts provide you with a visual image to inspire your story. Example: “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel was inspired by a photograph of a tiger that the author saw in a book. This image sparked Martel’s imagination and led to the creation of the novel’s central character; a boy named Pi who is stranded on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. The novel explores themes of spirituality, faith, and the power of the human imagination.