Fall Writing Prompts: 35+ Ideas to Get You Started

As the heat of summer fades away, replaced by a crispness in the evening air, we know the fall season approaches. The leaves change. Air conditioners see less use while heaters see more. Shorts are exchanged for pants. And, of course, Halloween and Thanksgiving approach.

Fall is a season with a unique kind of magic that deserves to be celebrated with the following fall writing prompts!

In this article, you will learn:
  1. Tips for using fall writing prompts. 
  2. List of creative writing prompts to choose from. 
  3. What to do with your story when it's done. 

Helpful Tips for Using These Fall Writing Prompts

The great thing about creative writing is the freedom that comes along with it. There are no rules you need to follow, and the only limits are those of your imagination. That said, I've included some guidelines to consider based on your writing goals

Choose a Genre and Theme to Strengthen Your Writing

If you're looking to flex your writing muscles with a creative writing prompt, then choosing a genre and a theme is the way to go. This can be something as broad as “thriller and redemption” or as narrow as “second-chance romance and the importance of self-love.” By giving yourself these parameters, you can ensure you're strengthening the right muscles while you write. 

Many of the prompts below can be tweaked to fit a range of genres. You can either go in with a genre and theme in mind, or you can read the prompts and see what genre/theme jumps out at you. 

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Revel in Freedom to Bust Writing Block

If you're suffering from some form of the dreaded writer's block, then you may want to go wild with one of the narrative writing prompts listed below. Don't give yourself parameters (like genre or theme). Instead, just let one of the prompts inspire you, and start writing. 

See where the story takes you. Even if it just turns into stream-of-consciousness writing, it's better than not writing at all. Sometimes you have to move through the “bad” words to get to the “good” ones, and this kind of free-form writing can help you do just that. 

Short Story or Long?

Depending on your writing style, you may or may not know what you'll get out of any given writing prompt. If you're a plotter, then you may need to develop an idea for a little while before you know how long the story will be. If you're a discovery writer, you probably won't know until you get into the meat of the story. 

If you're looking for a novel-length idea, then keep that in mind as you consider the prompts below. Many writers see short stories as excerpts from longer-length stories. So even if a prompt doesn't seem like it has enough for a novel in it, try to expand the idea in your mind. Tweak it to make it yours, so it's something you're excited about. 

Conversely, nearly all the prompts can be used as inspiration for a short story. The more characters you introduce, the longer the story will generally be. And the more you have to explain, the longer the story will be. So if you want to keep things simple, stick to two or three characters and make the world similar to ours, so there's less exposition needed. But don't be afraid to get complex if the story in your mind warrants it! 

Pro Tip: If you do think you have a novel-length idea, then you can vet the idea to see if there's an existing and underserved audience for it. More on that after the prompts! For now, let's dive in. 

Fall-Themed Writing Prompts

Pick a fun fall writing prompt below for an excellent story starter. You can use them as-is or change them however you want. 

1.  Start a story in which two men with guns are sitting in a car outside a bank arguing about whether “fall” or “autumn” is the better word. 

2. Write a story in the genre of your choice in which the protagonist is a barista on the first day Pumpkin Spice Lattes are officially available.

3. Imagine an idyllic autumn scene, and then interrupt it with a chase, a spaceship landing, a car crash, or a couple having an argument. 

4. Write about two characters getting lost at night in a pumpkin patch. 

5. What is your favorite fall activity? What's the most unexpected thing you could imagine happening to you in the middle of this activity?

6. Start your story with a leaf falling from a tree and landing in/on something very unexpected.

7. Write a story about a fourth-grade class going on an autumn field trip to a farm to learn about the fall harvest. Choose a protagonist (it could be one of the students, a teacher, or a parent chaperone), give them a goal, and then throw roadblocks in their path that they must overcome. 

8. Start your story with a couple driving to New England in autumn to see the changing of the leaves. But all is not well in their relationship. Use subtext to tease out the tension in the vehicle. 

9. A young writer has just experienced a terrible loss and is determined to find beauty again in the fall season. Tell the story through the writer's journal entries. 

10. Write a story that takes place in a young character's last autumn as a child. What happens to make him or her grow up over the course of a single season? 

11. A young girl stumbles upon a magical pumpkin patch in the woods. She befriends its protector, a friendly scarecrow. When a logging company sets its sights on the area, the girl and the scarecrow must save the patch. 

12. A man who's at a desperate crossroads in his life drops everything and takes a trip to New England in autumn. Along the way, he meets people and sees things that give him the hope he needs to carry on. 

13. When a small family moves to a quaint New England town during autumn, they soon find that the town holds dark secrets that they must contend with. 

14. A woman inherits a small farm from a distant relative. She realizes that the property is more than just a farm during her first harvest season. It's a gateway between the land of the living and that of the dead—and she's the new gatekeeper. 

15. When the decorative scarecrows in a small town are seen walking around at night, a witch hunt ensues—with surprising results. 

Halloween Writing Prompts

Not every Halloween story has to be about ghouls and goblins. Pick a writing prompt below and tweak it to fit the genre or theme you have in mind. 

16. A group of students is about to carve pumpkins on the Friday before Halloween. But the pumpkins suddenly come alive and attack the kids. 

17. Write about a world in which Halloween is more important than Christmas.

18. Write about a world in which spirits really do come to the land of the living on Halloween. They can do some serious damage, so everyone must work together to keep the spirits on the other side. 

19. A group of college students carpools home for Halloween weekend, only to find that they've taken a wrong turn. Their car breaks down near a run-down house with mysterious powers. 

20. Write about two characters forming a connection while participating in a pumpkin carving contest. 

Thanksgiving Writing Prompts

Choose a Thanksgiving writing prompt below to strengthen your writing skills!

21. What's your favorite thing about Thanksgiving? Write a story about a character experiencing that thing for the first time. 

22. Write about a Thanksgiving get-together gone wrong, but only through the POV character's social media posts. 

23. Write an alternate version of the first Thanksgiving. What happens, and what are the implications for future Thanksgivings?

24. Start your story with your character looking frantically for someone while at the Macy's Day Parade. 

25. Write about an unwelcome guest showing up for Thanksgiving dinner. 

Black Friday Writing Prompts

These writing prompts are about the craziest shopping day of the year in many countries around the world. 

26. Write about a detective trying to solve the case of a box store worker who was killed in the middle of a Black Friday sale. There are hundreds of witnesses, but they all claim they didn't see anything.

27. Make your protagonist a package delivery driver in the days after Black Friday. What happens to prevent him/her from delivering their packages?

28. Write about a protagonist who must get a popular toy on Black Friday. If they don't, someone they love will die. 

29. A retail worker goes to the front of the store to open the doors for the Black Friday sale, but there's no one waiting outside. Where is everyone?

30. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, the sun doesn't come up, making it a literal Black Friday for half the world.  

Fall Journal Prompts

We've tweaked the concept of a traditional journal prompt to turn it into a character exercise. You can use the following journal prompts to get to know one of your existing characters or to flesh out a new one. 

31. Write a series of journal entries in which your character tells the story of the most impactful autumn of their life. 

32. Have your character describe a fallen leaf in great detail. Use subtext to have the leaf be a stand-in for something else in the character's life. 

33. Write a series of journal prompts in which your character describes their favorite fall activity. 

34. Describe the ups and downs of a character's life through a series of journal entries from Thanksgiving holidays through the years.

35. Write an epistolary story through a series of journal entries about the year fall came but never left. What would the world look like if half the globe were stuck in fall and the other half in spring?  

I hope you've enjoyed these autumn writing prompts! Bookmark this post and use it as a resource whenever you need writing inspiration. 

How to See if There's a Market for Your Stories

If you've come up with an idea for a story you think people will like to read, then you can do a bit of research to see if there's an audience for it. By this, I don’t mean just any audience, but a viable one with underserved readers. One that’s not too competitive but with a healthy readership. The quickest way to do this is by using Publisher Rocket

This tool can distill what would otherwise take hours of research on Amazon into easy-to-skim pages. And once you find a niche market for your book, it can help you position it for success when you do publish. With Publisher Rocket, you get insights directly from Amazon on:

  • Keywords – Metadata to position your book on Amazon.
  • Competition – Allowing you to see what's selling and how stiff the competition is.
  • Categories – So you know where people who are looking for books like yours go to find them.
  • Amazon Ads – Helps you quickly configure a list of profitable keywords for running ads for your novel, novella, or short story collection.

Best of all, it’s easy to use and comes with quick little videos to get you started. Check out Publisher Rocket here.

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