Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Massive list of story prompts, Part 1

Books of lists are popular. This post features lists from various writing books to use as prompts for writing stories.

Over the course of several years, I have collected a variety of storytelling prompts. Until now, my list has been stored on Google Drive as a Numbers spreadsheet. For the first time, I am sharing part of the list in this blog post. The second part of the list will come at a later date.

These prompts are ideal for writing memoirs, but could also work as prompts for fictional writing, especially when experiencing writer's block.

Stories: The Family Legacy

Stories: The Family Legacy: A guide for recollection and sharing, by Richard Stone, is a short book filled with story prompts. Stone uses stories from his own life as examples for each section of story prompts.

Forty Categories

I do not recall the source of this list, but it is a nice list of forty story prompts.

Writing for Your Life

Writing for Your Life: Discovering the story of your life's journey, by Deena Metzger, is another excellent book to assist with writing your memoir.
  • Stories from your childhood
  • Stories your parents and siblings tell about you
  • Stories your parents, siblings, and children tell about their lives
  • Morality tales your parents told to shape your behavior
  • Stories you habitually tell about your life
  • Traditional family stories
  • Stories you tell strangers about your family to reveal character
  • Stories you tell to strangers to introduce yourself
  • Stories you tell about travel and adventure
  • Cultural tales - teaching stories, inspiring stories
  • Stories that reflect your beliefs
  • Stories for your most intimate associates
  • Stories so intimate you believe they will bind you to someone forever
  • Lies you tell so often they become truths
  • Stories you will never tell anyone
  • Stories you will never tell, not even to yourself

Dale Carnegie

I am a fan of Dale Carnegie's approach to communications and influencing others. I have read several of his books including How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking, and How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. The prompts in this list appear to be from Carnegie's biographical sketch, but I do not recall how I came to develop this list.
  • Early years and upbringing
  • Early struggles to get ahead
  • Hobbies and recreation
  • Special areas of knowledge
  • Unusual experiences
  • Beliefs and convictions

My List

This short list is comprised of categories. Each category can be further expanded to create additional prompts.
  • Elementary: teachers, students, and classrooms
  • High School: teachers, students, and subjects
  • College: teachers, students, and activities
  • Jobs
  • Places: specific locations such as Grandma's house or a backstreet of Tijuana
  • States
  • Countries

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