Speculative Writing Prompts

Instructor: Adam Nystrom

Adam owns a Master's degree in Professional and Digital Media Writing. During his time as a graduate assistant, he developed lesson plans for upper-level English courses.

Speculative writing involves a bit of creative guesswork on the part of the author. In this article, you will find some suggestions on how to set up your story and where to take it, and for you teachers out there, these will come in handy for your English and writing classes.

Practice Prompts

In speculative writing, you want to create a conflict, or an issue. The problem at hand should be presented as the most important plot point, and it should hook readers into wanting to see what happens next. Here are some scenarios that you can use as a launching point for yourself or for your classroom.

A Missing Component

Someone, or something, has turned up missing. How did it happen? When was it discovered that the person or object had disappeared, and why is there such a panic to find what was lost? Establishing the importance of the person or thing also helps to build suspense - the payoff will be greater if/when the lost item is eventually recovered.

A Natural Disaster

Something big is looming on the horizon, and the fate of the planet is at stake. What kind of phenomenon is looming? Where did it come from, and how did it originate? What can the Earth's population do about it? You can establish perfect harmony in bringing people together for a cause to save humanity, or drive a wedge between factions and up the stakes for survival.

Get Lost

Your character wakes up with no recollection of where they are or how they got there. What is their first thought? What do they remember about where they last were before their bout of amnesia? Establishing your protagonist's lack of any concrete memory puts your readers in the same position as the character and will draw them in, imploring them to follow the character's journey as they struggle to find out what happened.

Some Extra Help

High school students might want to check out our homework help courses, specifically the lessons we offer on essay writing, to further hone their approach to narrative writing topics:

Teachers may want to look at some of the Common Core courses we offer, like Common Core Writing for Grades 9-10 and Common Core Writing for Grades 11-12. These courses are available in an easy-to-follow video format, and you can even quiz yourself using the self-assessment exams throughout.

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