Ghost Story Writing Prompts

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

Inviting students to explore the paranormal is an engaging way to get them writing creatively. This lesson gives a variety of ghost story writing prompts for students.

Ghost Stories

Whether they are ghost stories or urban legends, kids still love to tell these stories to their friends to scare and entertain them. Stories like Bloody Mary have been told for decades and changed over the years to properly horrify each new generation. Still, rather than recycle old campfire stories, students can take a more active approach to the supernatural realm by creating original tales. Writing prompts can inspire students to write their own stories. Like a good basic recipe that can lead to endless variation, an interesting writing prompt can provide a good foundation for exciting, new stories.

Image Writing Prompts

Images can provide the more visual among your students with an immediate way to immerse themselves in ghost stories. While a picture is worth a thousand words, including a caption can help students get started while giving them room to interpret the image in their own ghostly way.

Haunted House

A creepy-looking house invites questions. Students can use this image or a similar one to start asking questions and write a ghost story about a specific place.

The house crumbled into disarray, while the ghosts inside become more excited for the coming day.
Haunted House

Ghost Ship

A haunted realm doesn't have to be bound to one time or place. Take this ghost ship, for instance. It can be used for many ideas: undead pirates, a cruise gone wrong, or the Bermuda Triangle.

The ship emerged from the fog that envelops the Bermuda Triangle. Rusted and full of holes, it still stayed afloat. We can only imagine what happened there.
Ghost Ship

Creepy Doll

From classic stories to horror movies like Chucky, dolls, with their lifeless, staring eyes, play on the fears of many people. An image of a doll can go many directions for students, so I gave a general caption to give students a chance to provide their own interpretations. Whether it be a doll or a demon, providing a memorable figure can give students the opportunity to also write character-driven ghost stories.

Her eyes tell a story of how she came to be there. What is that story?

Written Prompts

As the suspense and tension builds, a good ghost story has readers asking, ''What happens next?'' The following written prompts play with this idea and give the beginning ideas of a story or thought, which students can use to create a ghost story of their own. Most of these are written in the second person to help put students in the character's shoes.

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