Stories fuel us as human beings. From the most gripping fantasy to the rawest memoir, it is the stories we tell one another that help define who we are.
Teaching our youth to tell their own stories, whether fiction or nonfiction, is an excellent way to boost their sense of selves, instill good communication technique and help them make sense of the world around them. Moreover, story writing encapsulates a huge range of English language skills, from vocabulary and syntax to setting and theme.
As with so much of teaching, however, guidance is critical. While a free write once in a while is empowering to students, structure is important for most writing sessions. Use these story writing prompts for middle school students to help them improve their storytelling techniques and become the authors, narrators, and raconteurs you know they can be!
40 Story Writing Prompts
- It turns out time travel is possible, and you have a machine. Where do you go and in what time period?
- Describe your perfect day.
- Write about the time you felt the strongest in life. (Sports, dance, hiking, emotionally?)
- Write a scary story.
- Describe a time when you felt uncomfortable or disrespected online.
- Who’s your biggest hero? Chronicle an important moment in their life. If you aren’t sure, make up a story that fits.
- Write about the time someone told you a secret.
- Did you have an imaginary friend when you were younger? Describe what they were like, or would have been like if you didn’t.
- Write about the day you find out you don’t have any more chores. What is that day like?
- What’s your favorite place on Earth? Describe it.
- You wake up stranded on a desert island. Desert islands are a common cliché back in the real world, so you have some idea what to do. What’s your first move?
- You’re getting ready for a trip to a foreign country you’ve always dreamed of visiting. What do you pack?
- What do you see in a foreign country you’ve always dreamed of visiting?
- A genie grants you one wish – not three, only one. What do you do with it?
- Tell the story of a time you experienced deep sadness, perhaps over the death of a pet or family member, or maybe on behalf of someone else.
- You are a billionaire who just found out that all your money was lost in a stock market crash. What do you do today?
- Write a tale about true love (romantic or otherwise).
- How much do you know about your grandparents’ childhoods? Choose one grandparent and either tell a story about their life or make one up. (And remember to ask your grandparents about their childhoods! It’s more interesting than you might think.)
- Describe yourself as an author would describe a character.
- Write about your life in five years.
- Write about your life in ten years.
- You’re a dish of food in a buffet line. What food are you, and what are you feeling right now?
- It turns out magic is real and everyone knows about it. What form does it take in human society?
- Write about a trip to Mars. How would you get there? What would you see once you were there? Would you come home?
- You live in a secluded village of treehouses in the middle of nowhere. What is life like?
- Insert yourself into any scene of your favorite movie, and describe what happens.
- Describe your bedroom as an author would describe a setting.
- Choose a character from literature with whom to spend the day. What do you do?
- Write about an object that has strong value to you.
- Tell the story of an animal who suddenly develops language skills. What would he do?
- Tell a story about pride, either fiction or nonfiction. Is being proud a good thing or a bad thing?
- Describe one of your siblings. If you don’t have any, describe your ideal brother or sister.
- Describe today’s weather as an alien would experience it. Make us truly feel, see, hear, smell and taste the climate.
- Write about how it feels to be betrayed. What happened? Did you see it coming? How did you react? Were you able to forgive? What is your relationship with the person today? How have you chosen to think about this event, and is that a healthy way to think?
- Tell the story of a time you sacrificed something you wanted for someone else’s sake. Was their happiness reward enough? Were they grateful? Do you regret it?
- You’re an artist. What type of art do you create?
- You’re a ruler in Ancient Egypt who has just learned that a god has been found alive and walking among the people in the next valley over. What do you do?
- Share the story of a moment when inspiration struck you deeply and you produced something amazing. What happened? What did you do or make? How do you feel about the accomplishment today?
- Write about your best dream.
- Describe a hero’s inner thoughts right before they die.
Until next time, keep on writing!
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