Narrative writing is the style of writing used in fiction and creative nonfiction, such as memoirs. It's the telling of a story, with a beginning, middle, and end. As such, becoming proficient at narrative writing is essential if you want to make a living writing.
Even if you want to write only as a hobby, you'll need to be more than passingly familiar with this kind of writing. Luckily, this article will help you do just that. First, we'll discuss a bit more about narrative writing, then dive into some narrative writing prompts to get the ideas flowing.
- Kinds of narrative writing.
- Who narrative writing prompts are for.
- List of narrative writing prompts.
Table of contents
Different Types of Narrative Writing
There are several types of narrative writing that are used in fiction and some nonfiction books. The most common type is the linear narrative, in which the story progresses in a logical manner. Most fiction is of the linear narrative type.
There's also the non-linear narrative, in which the story jumps around through time. A couple of well-known non-linear story examples include movies such as Pulp Fiction, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Memento.
Then you have the viewpoint narrative, in which the story is written from the narrator's point of view. Memoirs are examples of viewpoint narrative works, but there are also many first-person point-of-view works of fiction.
Finally, you have the descriptive narrative, in which a scene, person, place, or thing is described with detailed description using the five senses. A good story will contain enough description to immerse the reader in the story.
We've grouped the creative writing prompts below according to these narrative types. You can pick a prompt from each and get writing, or you can choose only ones that are interesting/pertinent to whatever work-in-progress you're currently involved with.
But before we get to the prompts, do you really need to practice narrative writing?
Who Should Use Narrative Writing Prompts?
Whether you're a middle school or high school student, a young writer or an old hand, practicing your craft can only help your writing. While it's true you may remember narrative writing exercises from your elementary school days (no matter how long ago they were), that doesn't mean these exercises can't help you today.
The best writers work on their craft constantly. Like anything else, writing skills need to be sharpened and honed. And one of the best ways to do that is through the various types of narrative writing.
Narrative writing prompts can also help you overcome writer's block so you can get back to writing, whether it's a horror story or a narrative essay. Getting the creative gears turning is great for overcoming creative blocks.
So it doesn't matter where you are in your writing career, narrative writing prompts can help!
Narrative Writing Prompts
These prompts provide a fun way to sharpen your writing skills. You can choose one narrative prompt at a time, or work on multiple to really make things interesting.
Linear Narrative Prompts
Make sure to include a beginning, middle, and end for these linear prompts. They should tell a story in which the main character has to solve a problem or overcome some obstacle, whether physically, emotionally, or both.
1. Write a short story about a fantasy character who gets stuck in our world and has to find their way back home.
2. Write a scene in which a kid has to get home for dinner across a treacherous landscape and through a gauntlet of imaginary monsters and evil sorcerers.
3. Pick three tropes from your favorite writing genre and use them to inform your story. (Example: Horror story (genre), vampires, mad scientist, and a questionable ally.)
4. Write about a character who goes on a blind date that either goes really well or really poorly.
5. Write about a character who wants nothing more than to ride a Ferris wheel, but has a phobia of balloons.
6. Write about an art thief going to great lengths to steal a piece of art.
7. Write about a police officer who must talk someone out of doing something drastic and terrible.
8. Write a scene about a woman meeting a date at a coffee shop and running into her ex.
9. Write about a woman who must brave a violent storm to get home to her children.
10. Write a story detailing a harrowing visit to another country.
Non-Linear Narrative Prompts
Get creative with these prompt ideas. Non-linear narrative prompts are often told from multiple perspectives and/or through the use of epistolary means (i.e. letters, journal entries, news reports, etc.).
11. Write about a fictional character through ripped-out pages from a journal that another character finds.
12. Write a story about a group of friends who go camping and end up getting assaulted by strange creatures. But piece the story together from the point of view of two or more characters.
13. Recount the end of a relationship from the POV of the two participants. Is there a misunderstanding at work, or do both people have the exact same story about why the relationship ended?
14. Write about a family who experiences an earthquake in different parts of the city.
15. Write a scene in which a cop and a criminal are matching wits in an interview room.
16. Start with the end of a story you know well, and then write it backward.
17. Write a story about a character with amnesia who remembers events out of order.
18. Explore a major historical event through the eyes of fictional characters who were “there.”
19. Start in the middle of a story about a long journey, then use flashbacks to fill in essential plot elements.
20. Using an unreliable narrator, tell the story of a disastrous music festival.
Viewpoint narrative can be completely made up or a product of your own personal experience. You can always combine fiction and personal narrative for a great writing exercise. If you're having trouble with writer's block, then the following prompts may be the easiest way to get your writing back on track.
21. What's your favorite memory from childhood? Write it down in as much detail as possible.
22. What's the proudest moment of your life so far? Use it as a starting point to craft a scene in which the moment gets even better.
23. What drew you to creative writing? Describe what inspired you to become a writer.
24. Think back to a day in 7th grade when you had a great day. Describe the day and what made it so great.
25. Write a comedic scene about your family on vacation.
26. Have you ever broken the law? Don't answer that. Instead, write a fictional story in which you do break the law.
27. Think of a famous person who gives you inspiration. Write about what you would do if you ever met them.
28. Write about what you would do on your dream vacation.
29. Write a short story about becoming a superhero.
30. Write a story from the viewpoint of a fictional character planning something nefarious.
31. Write a romantic story about meeting the love of your life.
32. Write a journal entry from the viewpoint of a character who has just accomplished their biggest goal.
33. Write a story about a day in the life of someone from a different cultural background.
34. Write a personal narrative in which you become a professional athlete in your favorite sport.
35. Write a story in which you're a rock star or a movie star.
36. Write a story from the POV of a character struggling to change the world for the better.
37. Write a first-person story about a police officer cracking the big case.
38. Write about a time you tried and failed at something. Explore your feelings and the aftermath.
39. Write about the weirdest thing that's ever happened to you.
40. Write about a near-death experience you've had.
In descriptive narrative, plot is secondary. It's more about getting the details down using all five senses. This can really help strengthen your fiction writing by helping readers feel immersed in the world of your story.
41. Describe a haunted house in detail.
42. Describe a fantasy creature you've made up or one from existing lore.
43. Write about the neighborhood park, including people who frequent it.
44. Write about a breathtaking building you've always liked.
45. Write about a landfill.
46. Write about a fantasy world in which dragons, demons, and elves exist.
47. Write about a building you're intimately familiar with.
48. Write about a spooky forest.
49. Write about a person (either real or fictional) without leaving any details out.
50. Describe the most beautiful sunset or vista you've ever seen.
While most of these writing prompts are mere exercises to strengthen your writing, you may find that they result in a story idea or two. So whether you use them as journal prompts for creative, stream-of-consciousness writing or as a way to come up with stories doesn't really matter. What matters is the writing activity you get out of them. Each hour you spend writing (and not just staring at the screen or surfing social media) adds to the 10,000 hours it takes to become an expert at something.
But what do you do when you want to put your writing out into the world? Well, if you want to make some money from your craft, you'll need to find the right market for your work.
Finding Your Market Niche
Just as getting to know your characters is important for writing a good story, getting to know your market niche is essential for getting your story in front of readers. There are a couple of ways to do this, but only one that leaves you more time for actual writing. And that means using Publisher Rocket, made by the team here at Kindlepreneur.
With Publisher Rocket, you can get data in seconds that would otherwise take you hours if you were to comb through Amazon yourself. The main PR tools allow you to:
- Learn what keywords Amazon customers use to search for books like yours — and how many searches a given keyword (or phrase) receives per month.
- See what's working for other authors in your genre with data on book price, monthly sales, ranking, and book cover styles.
- Find niche categories with the right amount of demand and competition for your books.
- Gather keywords to use in your Amazon Ad campaigns.
Check out Publisher Rocket here to learn more.