Holiday Writing Fun

We’re less than a week away from Christmas so I thought it might be nice if you gave yourself a little break over the holidays. Instead of sticking to your tried-and-true writing routine, try your hand at one (or more) of the fun exercises below. Maybe they’ll inspire a short story — maybe they’ll inspire a novel. It’s up to you. The goal, above all else, is to have fun, energize your writing muscles and prepare yourself for the new year of writing to come.

If you want to give yourself an extra challenge, roll a six-sided die. Whichever number turns up is the prompt you have to tackle. Taking away your ability to choose can sometimes force you into trying something new — which leads to the happy discovery that you’re capable of writing a much wider range of stories than you think.


The following six prompts are all drawn, with permission, from The Writer’s Lab by Sexton Burke (Nov 2012):

  1. A man was murdered within a locked room — his personal library. He held the only key. There are no windows, fireplaces, floor grates or ventilation shafts. The phrase “Better dead than read” is written on his forehead. Who killed him, how, and why?
  2. Think of an argument for which you fully support one specific side. Now write a scene in which you have to fairly — and successfully — represent the viewpoint of the opposition.
  3. The plane is going to crash. There are 50 seconds until impact — a LONG time. What do the passengers and pilots do with that much time?
  4. You receive a package in the mail. The card with the package wishes you well on your wedding day, but you’re not getting married. Write the story of what’s really going on.
  5. In J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic The Hobbit, the tragic Gollum challenges Bilbo Baggins to a deadly game of riddles. Bilbo wins the game simply by asking Gollum “What have I got in my pocket?”
    Check your pocket then write a short mystery — a kind of riddle, really — in which whatever you found in your pocket is part of the solution.
  6. Of these three classic monsters, Dracula, The Wolfman and Frankenstein, two (vampires and werewolves) have been turned into romantic figures in both literature and film. Write a short story that makes the Frankenstein monster into a romantic figure.


Which prompt did you choose? Share your writing with us in the comments below!