Barren trees and frigid temperatures. Hibernation and holidays and heavy coats. These are just a few things of winter – at least in most places. Some people love winter. Others hate it. No matter how you feel about it, there are plenty of story ideas to be gleaned from the season.
You probably have a certain mood that goes along with winter. Certain mental images and feelings that come up. No two people will have the exact same interpretation of winter and what the season means to them. Not when you dig down deep. And that's just what these winter writing prompts are designed to do!
- Tips for using these winter writing prompts.
- List of writing prompts.
- What to do with your winter story after it's done.
Table of contents
How to Use These Winter Writing Prompts
There's really no right or wrong way to use narrative writing prompts like the ones listed below. As long as they get you writing, then they're serving their purpose! That said, there are some tips I'd like to share that can give you some purpose and direction while deciding which creative writing prompt (or prompts) you want to use.
Start a New Book or Short Story
This may seem obvious, but it's worth mentioning that these prompts don't have to be followed to a T. Keep an open mind as you read them, and let your ideas run wild. Some of them may be better suited for a short story, while others may spur enough in your mind for a novel or novella. In fact, many writers believe that a good short story is just an excerpt from a much longer story.
You can always use the writing prompts as-is, if you like. The nice thing about creative writing is that no two people will come up with the exact same story, even if they're inspired by the same writing prompt! No one can write like you, and that's something to be embraced.
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Bust Through Writer's Block
Maybe you're stuck on your current work in progress. Maybe you're looking for a new idea but you just can't seem to find one that gets your creative juices flowing. No matter the type of writer's block you're experiencing, the prompts below can help.
Sometimes, the best thing to do is just start a writing activity with a clear goal, even if you know no one else will ever see what you write. Something as simple as writing a short story of 2000 words can make for a manageable goal you can accomplish in a sitting or two. This can be freeing, helping you to bust through writer's block. And if you end up with something good, maybe you can use it!
Flesh Out Characters
Writing prompts are excellent for fleshing out characters from other stories you're writing. You can put one (or more) of your characters into a completely different story and see how they react. This way, you can get to know them and solidify them in your mind for when you go back and continue writing your other story.
Bonus Tip: Use the snowflake method to outline a story once you find a prompt you like below!
Winter Writing Prompts
I've split the following free winter writing prompts into a few sections for easy browsing. Just keep in mind that many of them can be tweaked for use in a variety of different genres. So whether you're writing a mystery, a romance, or a horror novel, you shouldn't have any problem finding a winter story starter below.
Christmas Writing Prompts
1. It's Christmas morning, but two parents wake up to find that their kids have let them sleep in. Then they think that something must be wrong. The house is too quiet.
2. A worried woman looks out the window at the snowy landscape on Christmas Eve, hoping to see a figure coming down the road.
3. A mother and father decide to make this Christmas the best one yet. Because they know it will be their last as a family together.
4. Start a story in which a man is talking about his problems and his hopes for Christmas – to a snowman.
5. Write about a kid searching the house for the stash of Christmas presents and finding something completely unexpected.
January Writing Prompts
6. Write about a supervillain whose new year's resolution is to finally take over the world.
7. Write a story from the perspective of a gym employee who has the most hectic time of the year in the month of January.
8. What if Y2K was real? What would January of 2000 have been like if all the computers crashed?
9. Write about a world in which the saying “New Year, New You” is literal. What if each person got to choose a new body once a year on January 1st?
10. Write about two people falling madly in love on January 1st after having known each other for years before.
Snow Writing Prompts
11. Write about a snowball fight that involves an entire neighborhood.
12. Write about a character who is about to give up on life until he comes across a bunch of kids sledding. One kid offers up her sled and asks the man if he'd like a turn.
13. Write a horror story in which a snowman comes to life and begins terrorizing a little boy.
14. Write about a group of high school kids who use a snow day to perform a daring heist at the local high school.
15. A troubled little girl decides to make a snow angel, and while she's lying on the ground, a real angel comes to help her.
Various Winter Writing Prompts
16. Think of your favorite winter activity from childhood. Now start a story with a character in the middle of that activity getting interrupted by some kind of conflict.
17. Write about a college student preparing for winter break after she's just gone through a bad breakup. She's on the verge of doing something drastic that she'll regret. What is that thing?
18. Write a scene about a character's first time ice skating. He hates the cold and the ice, but he agrees to do it because the character he's with wants to.
19. Write about a character trying to solve a murder by reading the victim's journal. Each entry is for a day in the winter month leading up to the murder.
20. A character with a bad case of the winter blues finds him or herself staring into a snow globe, thinking about what could have been. But this isn’t just any snow globe…
21. Write a story about a contentious but loving family spending a winter holiday together after many years apart.
22. Write about a character stranded in the wilderness on a winter day. Using descriptive writing, make the cold weather and harsh environment the antagonist of the story.
23. What's your favorite thing about winter? Write about a character who is experiencing this thing for the first time ever.
24. What would it be like if the winter season never ended? Write an apocalyptic story in which the whole world is plunged into permanent winter.
25. Write a story in which snowmen act as scarecrows, keeping vicious winter monsters away. Each house must have a snowman out front to protect the family. But someone is going around destroying snowmen in the middle of the night.
26. A group of travelers become stranded by a blizzard and take refuge in a ramshackle cabin. But they soon realize that what's in the cabin is much worse than the blizzard they just escaped.
27. In an isolated mountain town, a snowstorm rolls in and shuts the place down for several days. The only person out and about is a detective, trying to solve a murder that happened as the storm raged outside.
28. A group of friends goes to a cabin for their yearly trip. But it seems that one of them has an ax to grind. As the claustrophobia gets worse, the secrets start to come out.
29. A struggling singer falls in love with another musician at a winter music festival.
30. When a young woman comes back to her hometown one winter, she realizes just how much she has changed since leaving home. Through a series of interactions, she comes to realize that the town she used to hate is full of some of the best people she's ever known.
I hope you have enjoyed these free writing prompts. Spurring creativity can be hard sometimes, but working through it is just a matter of getting words down, even if they come slowly and feel like the wrong ones. If you've come away with some good ideas for stories, you may want to check and see if there's a market of readers looking for stories like yours.
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How to See if There's a Market for Your Stories
If you have an idea for a novel or novella (or even a collection of short stories), then I’d urge you to see if there’s a market for it. By this, I don’t mean just any market, but a viable market 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:
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- 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.