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30 Mystery Writing Prompts for Inspiration

Great Mystery Writing Prompts— Oh yeah, Mystery writing is a fabulous genre that requires loads of creativity and imagination. And, it’s perfect for writers of all ages. From spooky ghost stories near Halloween to in-depth murder mysteries that can unfold before the reader’s eyes…

Mystery Writing Ideas

There are so many opportunities to write wonderful mystery stories. Of course, children in the classroom or at home can practice their mystery-writing skills and will quickly discover how fun it is to write in this style. More advanced and skilled writers including adult writers can use mystery writing prompts as a starting point for their own thrillers!

No matter what age you are or where you are writing from, you should consider taking some time to explore the mystery genre.

Use these mystery writing prompts to get started!

30 Mystery Writing Prompts for Writers of All Ages

  1. Your grandmother’s precious diamond ring has always been tucked away safely in the jewelry box. Then one day, it goes missing. You know there could only be one suspect.
  2. It should have been a simple case of “Who done it?” However, the clues didn’t add up. The only evidence to consider was a red string, a broken mirror, and a missing pile of cash.
  3. Three teenagers are exploring an old house in town, and they discover a secret door that leads to an underground tunnel.
  4. All of the teachers said to avoid the hallway in the back of the school. It had been roped off for years. But we simply couldn’t resist checking it out.
  5. Two scientists were working together in a laboratory. Everything seemed to be going according to plan until their ingredients created something completely unexpected.
  6. Your best friend comes up to you and tells you they have something important to share with you. It’s a secret that will change both of your lives.
  7. The most valuable painting at the local museum has been stolen. You are pretty sure you know who did it, but now you have to decide whether to share that information with local law enforcement.
  8. One day, everyone in town awoke to the strangest phenomenon. Everyone’s pets had seemingly disappeared overnight.
  9. In the distance, there was a glowing green light. You didn’t want to approach it, but you simply couldn’t resist.
  10. You check the mail one day and find a greeting card inside the mailbox. All it says on the inside is, “You are just the person we need.”
  11. A mysterious stranger moves in next door. They keep odd hours and their activity seems suspicious. Then one day, they knock on your door and ask for help.
  12. You are checking into a hotel, and you are excited to begin your vacation with your family. That is, until you find out that you will be staying in the only room on the 13th floor.
  13. You have been reading about a big case that the police are working on in the newspaper. The last thing you were expecting was the police to ask for your help in solving it.
  14. When you walk into your classroom in the morning, you are surprised to find out that your teacher has mysteriously vanished.
  15. You thought you knew your family members and family history, but when you find an unexpected photograph from 30 years ago, the story begins to unravel.
    Mystery Story Writing Ideas
  16. A stranger approaches you on the street and introduces themselves as your long-lost sibling.
  17. You receive an invitation to a magnificent ball, unlike anything the town has ever seen. When you show up dressed in your best, you realize you are the only person there.
  18. Write about a character who has been asked to join an exclusive secret society.
  19. Three friends head out on a hiking trail, and they are never heard from again. Write about how the local community works to solve this mystery.
  20. A family moves into a new home, but their dog is restless. Then, the dog goes into the backyard and digs up something completely unexpected.
  21. You are working in your office and you start to hear a mysterious ticking noise. You try to ignore it, but it keeps getting louder and louder.
  22. A detective is about to retire after spending 30 years cracking cases. Then, his final case hits his desk. He knows that this will either make or break his career.
  23. The meteorologists had predicted that it would be a bright, sunny day. However, strange green clouds were hanging low around the town. Something must have gone terribly wrong at the local testing site.
  24. You have been contacted by an attorney and have been told you are the heir to a fortune from a stranger. You simply have to figure out why this person chose you.
  25. The same crime keeps taking place — in different locations around the world. You have to figure out the connections between them all.
  26. A new detective has joined the police force. He has no idea that he’s about to start working on the biggest case the town has ever seen.
  27. Your grandfather recently passed away and left a sealed letter just for you. As you are reading it, you realize that nothing was what it seemed.
  28. You find a bundle of unsigned love letters in your mother’s trunk. The problem is, you know that your father did not write them.
  29. She had been leaving clues on Twitter all along, but no one had any idea.
  30. You wake up one morning and you realize that you have been given the answers to a local mystery in a dream. Now, you have to figure out how to convey the truth to everyone else.

I hope you enjoy and use this list of mystery writing prompts and mystery story ideas.

A Recipe for Great Mystery Writing

One of the best ways for writers to challenge themselves is to try their hand at new and different genres. A writer who is accustomed to writing fictional short stories or personal narratives can expand their skill set and sharpen their style by dabbling in different genres, such as mystery writing.


Mystery writing stands out from other genres because it tends to require writers to do more planning in advance.


In order to become an effective mystery writer, you may want to practice each and every day. Indeed, anyone who wants to explore this writing style — or who dreams of one day publishing a mystery novel — should begin a journal and use mystery writing prompts to hone their skills.

Of course, the characters in mystery writing can be as complex as the plot twists you can create. A secret Santa, the local police chief or a small-town sheriff, a young girl, or an old woman who fakes her own death on a family vacation could all be the main character in your story – or maybe a dead body is your story’s protagonist. The character options are positively endless in creative writing!

These mystery writing prompts are only a starting point. You can use one of these prompts in order to create a detailed and involved mystery, or you can practice until you come up with your own story idea.

No matter which route you choose, you should always make sure to keep on writing!

Until next time, write on…

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Mystery Writing Topics for All Ages

PS Check out this exciting resource —> 11 Activities for Teaching a Mystery Unit

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