Creative Writing Prompts for High School

Instructor: Nicky Davis
Whether you are setting out to write plays, short stories, poems or novels, getting inspired is sometimes the most difficult thing. Keep reading to find prompts for high school students interested in creative writing, as well as advice and resources to help you enhance your writing skills.

Prompts for High School Creative Writing

Creative writing is a great outlet for students to express themselves, and can also be a fun way to integrate and explore other school subjects. The prompts below range from exercises that draw on academic materials, to those that rely solely on the imagination.

Character Combination

Try writing a piece in which characters from different books you've read for school interact with each other. What circumstances might bring these figures together? How do they influence each other? What do they have in common? What conflicts might they face?

Holiday Invention

Holidays are often a time when people come together, and major events take place. Imagine a new holiday, with unique rituals and traditions, and a group of people who celebrate it. What kinds of activities do they do to commemorate the day? Is it a festive holiday or a somber holiday? What transpires when this group of people is united?

Major Endings & New Beginnings

Choose an ending and a beginning from the lists below, and incorporate them into a piece of creative writing, whether a poem, a play, a story or a personal essay.

  • Endings: A death, divorce, moving out, a break-up, a graduation, quitting a job or being fired
  • Beginnings: A birth, a first date, moving in, first day of school, first time driving, starting a new job, trying a new hobby

Time Traveller's Writing

Imagine you could travel back in time to any point in history. Write a story, or journal entry, about what you would do and explore in that time period. Keep in mind the things that would be different, and think about the kinds of people you might meet. Could you participate in major historical moments from the past? Could you change the arc of history?

Solve the Story

Fill in each of the plot points listed below, then, with all the obstacles of the story in place, see if you can write a story that has an uplifting ending.

  • Imagine a major life event for a character, around which this story takes place.
  • Choose an essential person to this event that arrives late.
  • Add a long-kept secret that gets revealed.
  • Include a confrontation between two characters that haven't seen each other in a long time.
  • Invite a surprising and unexpected guest.

Tips & Resources for High School Creative Writers

  • Write first, edit later: It's easy to get caught up in editing yourself as you go, but this often disrupts the flow of your creativity. Get everything down on the page first, and then think about the editing.
  • Don't be afraid to think outside the box: If an idea seems strange or unusual, that doesn't mean you shouldn't use it. In fact, it probably means you should use it! Your most imaginative ideas are the things that make your writing unique, so don't shy away from them.
  • Get to know your voice: Even if you're writing a poem without obvious characters, voice is essential in writing. Familiarize yourself with the voices you're writing in, whether they're those of your characters, your author's voice, or a stylized poetic voice.

There are a number of ways to become a more skilled writer, from doing your own writing to reading other writers' work. also has tools and resources available to help you. Check out the following chapters to learn more about the genres and their components.

And to advance your own writer's toolbox, look at the following chapters, which will provide you with all the fundamentals you need to support your creative pursuits.

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