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Writing Prompts for Short Stories

Looking for a new way to add a little fun to creative writing time in your classroom? You are in luck!

You see, the prompt lists below are organized for you by grade level and start with Elementary Prompts, then Middle School, High School, and lastly, you will find a list of ideas for All Ages.

Short Story Writing Topics for Every Age

It’s a Short Story, Not a Novel

Keep it short. Your story, that is. 🙂

You see…

Short story writing prompts are one of our favorite ways to break up a typical journaling routine!

Short stories can take many forms—ranging from fun and fanciful to deep and dramatic.

However, good short stories of any genre share a few common traits. They are compelling, full of vivid images, and they take the reader on a journey from beginning to end.

That’s why short stories are such an effective way to help students of all grade levels master their writing skills.

Use Short Stories for Writing Practice, Mastery, and Success for ALL Grades

In just one simple assignment, students are called upon to practice many aspects of creative writing, including plot, setting, character development, form and language, chronology, conflict, and themes.

Of course, setting out to write a short story can be a daunting experience for any writer. It’s so tough to find the right idea and figure out where to begin!

Fortunately…

Writing prompts for short stories are a great tool to inspire your students and stoke their imaginations.

A great short story writing prompt should give the student a starting point for their creativity.

It should also be open-ended enough that each student can take the idea in their own direction, while also being specific enough to tell a story that has a beginning, middle, and end.

Let’s Get Excited to Write!

Most importantly…

A great short story prompt should make your students excited to begin writing! Right here we have loads of fabulous writing ideas for your students.

So get it and use these 86 writing prompts for short stories listed below to get your young writers thinking creatively and imagining their own new worlds.

Take a look now and enjoy!

Elementary School Writing Prompts for Short Stories

Use these elementary writing prompts and writing ideas in your classroom this school year!

  1. You go to the zoo on a class field trip and you find out you can take home one animal as a pet for the day. You head straight for the (blank) exhibit…
  2. You discovered a hidden treasure while playing on the playground. Write about what you found and what you did after you found it.
  3. Write a story about a magical wizard who has cast a spell on your classroom. What does the spell do? How do you and your classmates work to break the spell?
  4. There once was a squirrel living in a tree and she had the ability to talk to humans…
  5. Your little brother came home with a new pet dinosaur. Write a story about your parents’ reactions.
    Elementary Short Story Writing Ideas
  6. You woke up one morning and discovered that your crayons had come to life. They drew all over your homework. What colors came to life? What did they draw? What happened next?
  7. Your character goes swimming at the local beach and is taken by surprise when he or she discovers a mermaid community. Write a story about what happens next.
  8. Your story begins on the hottest day of the summer. Talk about what your character does to keep cool and the adventures that happen on this day filled with sunshine.
  9. Your story begins on the coldest day of the winter. Talk about what your character does to stay warm and the adventures that happen on this day filled with snowflakes.
  10. Tell a story about a dog who is lost in the big city. Who does the dog meet on their journey? Where does the dog end up at the end of his adventure?

Middle School Writing Prompts for Short Stories

Try these journal prompts for older kids for inspiration in your classroom!

  1. Your character has two best friends who are in the middle of a disagreement. What is the disagreement about? How does your character help their friends solve their problem?
  2. In your short story, you get to be the President of the United States for the day. What do you do? Do you change any laws? Do you meet any new people?
  3. Your character walks into their favorite restaurant, but the chef had prepared something utterly disgusting instead of the normal menu. Right on their plate was…
  4. A young student has been preparing for a baking contest for weeks. They have everything ready, but when the big day arrives…
    Middle School Short Story Ideas
  5. Two characters are walking through a forest when all of a sudden they discover a mystical unicorn. They try to take a picture, but the unicorn darts away. They start to race after the beautiful creature and then…
  6. Write a story based on the color yellow, a kite, two hedgehogs, and a delicious chocolate cake.
  7. You have to write a story about these four words: Dinosaurs, pizza, swimming, and school.
  8. Write a story about a character who stumbles upon a magical, color-changing rock.
  9. Write a story from the perspective of a grasshopper. What does the world look like around you? What types of things do you do during the day?
  10. You are an astronaut who is preparing for your first mission to space. Where are you traveling to in the universe? What do you bring with you for your journey?

High School Writing Prompts for Short Stories

These fun writing prompts are the cure for writer’s block! Watch your students turn a blank page into a fairy tale, a scary ghost story, or the next science fiction thriller!

  1. Create a character and describe what life is like for them in the year 2050. What type of job does your character have? What type of transportation does he or she use? Where does your character go to have fun?
  2. Name your role model and write a story about what you would do if you could spend a day with that person.
  3. Write a story from the perspective of a bird flying south for the winter.
  4. The story begins just as your main character scores the winning goal for the soccer team. Everyone is celebrating, but then something unexpected happens…
  5. It was the first day of school and you couldn’t believe your eyes when you walked into the classroom…
    High School Short Story Starters
  6. One day, the Internet just stops working—and no one knows how to fix it.
  7. Write a story that envisions how your life might be if you had made one small decision differently.
  8. Two friends frame each other in a series of escalating pranks. Eventually, one of them must reveal the truth when…
  9. Write a story about a group of teens who film a video that unexpectedly goes viral.
  10. Imagine that you have the chance to sit down for dinner with one of your great-great-great-grandparents. What do you talk to him or her about? What would you explain to him or her about your life?

All Ages Writing Prompts for Short Stories

These creative writing prompts and topics are sure to inspire all writers.

  1. Your character has a chance to go back to one specific day and make one change. Write about the choices the character makes and the impact that they have.
  2. Write a short story about the history of your family. Start by telling how your grandparents met, and continue on through the generations.
  3. Your character has the opportunity to plan their dream vacation. Where does your character go? What happens when they arrive at their chosen destination?
  4. Think about the last dream that you had while you were sleeping. Write a short story based on that dream.
  5. The wind was whipping on a cold day in April. Suddenly, something landed in front of you by surprise…
    Short Story Writing Prompts for All Ages
  6. A young couple volunteers to go on a mission to colonize Mars.
  7. Write a story about a man who enters a bar in disguise. Who is he hiding from? How is he disguised? What is his plan?
  8. Good news: you’ve just discovered a working time machine! Bad news: you know it works because it took you to the past and you are now stuck in an unknown year.
  9. You wake up one day and realize it is time for a major change.
  10. Everything is going normally on a random Tuesday until there is a knock at the door…

You’ll be amazed at the creative stories that your students come up with after working on just a few of these writing prompts for short stories.

As always, keep on writing!

More Short Story Writing Resources

Until next time, write on…

If you enjoyed these Writing Prompts for Short Stories for Young Writers,
please share them on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest.
I appreciate it!

Sincerely,
Jill
journalbuddies.com
creator and curator

Short Story Prompts for All Ages

Looking for more cool writing ideas in different genres? Check out these Romance Story Ideas for Teenagers, Fantasy Story Writing Prompts, and Sci-Fi Writing Prompts to really get their creative juices flowing! The magic of these writing exercises is that they’ll be having so much fun that they won’t realize that they’re learning!

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