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Symbolism – How To Use Symbols With Confidence In Stories

This article is for writers looking to learn how to use symbolism as a literary device to expand and layer meaning in their stories, by using symbolism in stories.

Symbolism can show hidden meanings and help set tones in the story to help the reader to understand and better connect with your story.

When using symbolism as part of writing your story, a balanced approach is best, so that your reader does not become confused. Symbolism, used well, should continue to advance the story forward.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a better idea of how to find hidden meanings in the art you consume, and you’ll know how to use that hidden meaning in your own work to attract and engage readers. 

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What is symbolism?

A simple definition of symbolism is that symbolism uses people or objects to represent a concept. These objects might be colors, animals, or parts of the setting – like the weather or lighting. 

Symbols are often used to get certain aspects of a story’s mood or tone across to a reader without being too on-the-nose.

Symbolism if often used in story-telling to key the reader into important concepts like death, rebirth, love, or even doom, but the author doesn’t want to spell it out for the reader too plainly. Symbols can be used to impart these concepts to the reader while moving the plot forward.

Symbols can also be used to identify themes and subplots in a story.

Writers might give characters certain symbols which show them at different stages in their journey—following these symbols as a reader will help you understand where the character is in their journey and what sorts of changes they’re going through. 

You can note these symbols on a character development worksheet for fast reference later.

Examples of Symbolism

Most symbols in a story take their roots in universal symbols. First, we’ll talk about some universal symbols and give examples, then we’ll talk about how writers work with those universal symbols in the context of their own stories. 

Universal symbols 

Here are some common universal symbols, broken down by category.

You may notice that some of these have meanings that don’t seem to have anything to do with each other—that’s because one symbol rarely has one agreed-upon meaning. That meaning will often depend on how the symbol presents itself.

For example, the meaning of the color yellow changes depending on the context, and depending on whether it’s a pastel or a vibrant yellow. 

Color symbols 

Black: sophistication, elegance, formality, mourning

White: life, purity, sterility

Red: romance, passion, danger, or lust

Green: prosperity, rebirth, nature 

Yellow: hazard, cowardice, dishonesty, friendship

Brown: groundedness, home, hearth, comfort 

Animal symbols 

Snake: deceit, cunning

Dog: loyalty, friendship

Bear: courage, threats 

Lion: courage, bravery, physical strength 

Flies: decay, rot, death

Raven: prophecy, foreboding

Object symbols 

(A quick note: you’ll notice that object symbols often combine with color symbols.) 

Money: prosperity, wealth

Ladder: ascending, connecting lower and higher concepts like heaven and earth 

Bridge: connectedness, togetherness

Rings/chains: restraint, joining together, commitment

Mirror: one’s own soul, beauty

Bones: death 

Water: life

Symbolism Tip: Water is almost always associated with “life”.

Story-specific symbols 

Writers take symbols like the ones listed above and incorporate them into their own stories when planning out the parts of the story for their book.

Example: The ‘Golden Snitch’ in Harry Potter 

  • ‘Gold’ symbolizes wealth or a prize, and the golden snitch symbolizes enlightenment and victory. 

Example: Night by Elie Wiesel 

  • Throughout this book, the night is used to symbolize death, danger, and doom. Nighttime is dark, and we already associate the darkness with fear and the unknown. 

Example: The green light in The Great Gatsby by Scott F Fitzgerald 

  • The famous green light! We associate green with prosperity and hope, and so does Gatsby. He looks out on the green light and believes he will be reunited with Daisy. However, this dream falls apart. Fitzgerald uses green a lot in this novel to symbolize wealth—notice where it comes up, and what happens to those characters who identify with it the most. 

How to Identify Symbolism in Writing

If you’re completely unfamiliar with symbolism, it might be easiest to start with movies, where directors and screenwriters use visual symbols. Being able to literally see the symbols on screen is super helpful if you’re new to this sort of thing. 

That said, these skills will help you out whether you’re looking for symbols in movies or in your favorite books. 

1. Look for symbolism in the most important scenes 

Go through a movie or book and pick out the most important scenes.

The best spots to find symbols are the introduction or beginning, the inciting incident, the climax, and the resolution. Find the moments with the most dramatic tension and identify the setting, characters, and description

Start by searching for universal symbols. Yes, this means underlining that the curtains in the climax of the novel are blue. It might not mean anything—not every single description is going to have a symbolic meaning, and that’s okay.

Keep an eye out for what symbols pop up at important plot points will help you notice them when they resurface again. 

Speaking of which… 

2. Symbolism is usually found in recurring imagery 

If you have a physical book, highlight every time a specific image or symbol resurfaces. Maybe you notice that one specific setting has water or bones, or specific types of animals always hang around one particular character. 

What sorts of items are associated with different characters? What colors are those items? What happens to those characters, and what happens to those items? Maybe the items change hands, get lost, or take on a new presentation. 

How to use symbolism in your plot

Now that you know how symbolism works and how to spot it, here are a few tips for using symbolism in your own work. 

1. Worry about it on the second draft 

The first and most important tip, for the sake of writing, is to get through your first draft without worrying too much about your symbols. Editing your book can wait.

This is the kind of thing that can get writers tied up in a never-ending first draft, constantly going back to make sure that everything is consistent. 

Write your first draft all the way through, pausing as infrequently as possible.

Then, when you revise, take the time to work on your symbols. Make a sheet of characters, settings, and themes with their associated symbols. 

2. Tie a specific universal meaning to your symbols 

Make sure you keep your symbols consistent across the board.

If green represents money and greed for some characters but life, prosperity, and nature for others, the meaning will get muddled and fall apart.

If rainbows appear in times of sadness, happiness, anger, and excitement, it’s difficult to pin down the significance of that symbol. 

This is where your symbolism planning sheet comes in handy.

Use that list to make sure the symbols you’ve chosen retain their meaning.

The meanings might change and evolve as the characters do, and that’s totally fine! But the meanings shouldn’t change randomly, or out of inconsistency on your part. 

3. Using symbols for foreshadowing 

Symbols are a great way to foreshadow events in your story. After all, the whole point of symbolism is getting across figurative meaning without being too direct.

Stories aren’t fun if the writer is spoon-feeding it to you.

It’s fun to be able to go back and notice that actually, the flies in chapter one signaled that character’s oncoming death. 

If you want to use your symbols to foreshadowing, double-check your symbols when you revise.

Make sure you’ve set that symbol up with that character or theme so that when it reappears later, your reader can recognize it. 

Also, you don’t want to beat your reader over the head with symbolism. Which leads me to… 

How to Avoid Heavy-Handed Symbolism in Your Writing

Say chapter one opens with a horrible storm approaching. A character arrives to the scene in a black car. A flock of ravens descends as he steps out, wearing black from head to toe. A skull and crossbones decorates his bumper. He walks up to our main characters as thunder rumbles, and we’re thinking, oh, gee, I wonder if this guy is going to end up dying or killing someone else. 

This is an example of heavy-handed imagery.

We don’t need all of this to get across a sense of foreboding or doom. We could pick any one of these symbols to suffice on its own. 

It’s also important to be aware of clichés. Sometimes using cliché is helpful, but relying on it to get information across will make the story fall flat.

A dark and stormy night, a black cat crossing a character’s path, a raven squawking in the background, a red-lipped seductress in a little black dress, a sweet little girl in a white dress—these are all cliché images.

If you want to use them, you need to do something with them. 

Maybe the sweet girl in a white dress is actually a murderous villain, or after the black cat crosses a character’s path, that character receives some great news.

In both instances, the writer is aware of the symbol they’re using, but they’re subverting the expectation to make for an interesting, engaging story.

Want to learn more about how and where to use symbolism in your story?

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Fantasy Creatures: A Guide to Using & Creating Mythical Beings

As a fantasy writer, one of the biggest things that attracted me to the genre was fantasy creatures. I love imagining new beings, mixing features and lore with ones that already exist, and incorporating those creatures into my stories to watch them interact with the world and characters.

If you’re interested in writing fantasy or sci-fi, you’re probably pretty familiar with a lot of different fantasy creatures that already exist. In your own writing, do you create your own unique beings, or do you use lore monsters and classic creatures?

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What are fantasy creatures?

A fantasy creature is an imagined being, usually for storytelling. Whether it’s novels, video games, art, or spoken folklore, fantasy creatures are present in any culture you can name. Ancient civilizations, every continent, every subcategory of place and person–they all have fantasy creatures.

The Middle-Eastern Manticore, the Cajun Rougarou, the Scottish Kelpie, the Zulu’s Tikoloshe. Everyone has fantasy creatures. They might be toted as fact (like creatures important for the religion or customs of different regions), or they might be stories people tell for fun (growing up in Louisiana, we were told the Rougaru would come eat children or turn them into Rougarus if they misbehaved). 

Fantasy writers often pull from lore and fairytales to recreate them when writing their novels. They might also take elements of one or more creatures to put their own spin on them. And other writers make up their own original creatures, which is hard to do!

A writer would be hard-pressed to come up with a completely original character that didn’t seem at least a little derivative of an existing creature, so don’t sweat originality too much.

Benefits of Having Unique Fantasy Creatures in Your Novel

If you’re writing a high fantasy, using epic fantasy creatures can make it a lot more exciting! They can also add conflict and richer worldbuilding.

Imagine if Tolkien wrote Lord of the Rings with no fantasy creatures. Just humans in a world with some magic–not as exciting or interesting, right? Adding unique animals and beings to your world is a crucial step in building a compelling and immersive fantasy.

A well-crafted fantasy creature can also make your story memorable and unique. It’s a real chance to use your creativity and logic to create “realistic” makebelieve. 

So how do we create good fantasy creatures?

How to Create One-Of-A-Kind Fantasy Creatures

You’re allowed to make up your own animals in your world, ones that can do and be whatever they please. However, if you create these fantasy creatures with intention to add to and build your story, it’ll be far more effective and memorable.

Here’s how to make fantasy creatures people create fan art for:

1. Consider the fantasy world they live in

The environment, lore, history–even politics and religion–can affect the creatures that are created and exist in your world. Think about what creatures would reasonably exist in the environment you’ve created. Would any of them be exterminated, relocated, or hunted? Are they sacred or worshipped?

As an example of using the environment to shape the creatures, here’s a short list of creatures I used in my fantasy novel who live in the swamp environment.

  • Komars. Komars are hivemind swarms of giant mosquito-like creatures with scimitar claws. Mosquitos love warm, humid places, so having a similar fantasy creature in the swamp made sense for that location.
  • Adelaide. Adelaide is a character who lives and works in the swamp, and she’s a scaly, amphibious person. Her biology and instinctual behavior makes her adept at surviving in an unforgiving swampscape.
  • Ragondin. Ragondin is a giant mount animal who resembles a nutria rat. He’s not sentient in the way humans are, but he works with Adelaide and acts as a named character. His coarse hair, thick tail, fat mass, and high nostrils make him perfect for swimming in murky water for long periods of time.
  • Garou. Garou is one of many swamp villains. He’s a wolf-human hybrid. Garou is influenced by the Cajun Rougarou and acts similarly to the lore I heard growing up.

All of these creatures work together to create the world of my swamp setting, and all contribute to the vibes, themes, plots, and character arcs that happen there. If you put any of the creatures I listed in another environment in the same universe (which I do a few times in the books), they would stick out and struggle.

That’s how well you want your creatures to make sense for the environment, because it makes for a much more believable world that your readers can really immerse themselves in.

We have a great blog post all about building a realistic fantasy world right here so you can get started.

2. Consider how the creatures interact with the characters and plot

Understand your creature’s place in the story universe. Is your creature its own sentient species?

Are they a friend, a pet, an enemy? What does the element of a fantasy creature add to your story, to the scene it’s in, and to your character arcs?

How can your creature create conflict for a scene or plot point in your novel?

Think about the ways in which your fantasy animal can play a role, and not just be a distant addition to your worldbuilding. When characters come into contact with them, it can make the world feel so much bigger and more real than if they’re just observed.

3. Build their physical features

This is where it gets fun. You can develop the way your character looks based on factors like its environment, its origin, and its purpose. You can pull ideas and elements from real animals or creatures of lore and fairytales.

If you’re taking a classic creature, like a vampire or an elf, what original thing can you bring to them? For example, Stephenie Meyer took vampires, introduced the concept of vegetarianism, and made them sparkle in sunlight.

There are benefits to taking a creature that already exists, like a vampire, because the groundwork is already done. Your reader knows what a vampire is. But then they get to learn what makes your (or Meyer’s) vampires unique in that universe.

Here are a few things to consider when you’re crafting your fantasy creature’s physiology:

  1. Evolution. What did previous iterations of this creature look like? Why did it develop in this way? Does it have vestigial features?
  2. Features. Wings, limbs, horns, tails, scales, fur–there are endless combinations of endless lists of feature elements. It can be hard to decide! Consider what use each of these features would have for the creature and its thriving (or failure) in an environment.
  3. Colors and patterns. This could just be for fun, or maybe your creature survives through camouflage or other pattern-related techniques. Also consider what the colors and patterns can mean for the creature socially–are some considered more attractive? Are some colored specifically to attract mates?
  4. Size. How big is your creature? How much does it weigh? Can it change its shape or size? How does its size change from infancy to adulthood?
  5. Variations and subspecies. How are members of the same species different from each other, and are there categorically different types?
  6. Habits, diet, etc. Knowing how your creature spends its time can help you decide what it looks like, how it acts, and what it needs to survive and thrive.

Examples of Mystical Fantasy Creatures

Let’s look at a few examples of fantasy creatures to get some ideas flowing! You can definitely use these in your own novels, but we challenge you to think a little broader and instead pull inspiration from the below examples and tweak them to make them unique with the tips above.

1. Phoenix

The phoenix is a mythical bird associated with Greek roots that is known for its cyclical regeneration. It ignites at the end of its life cycle, regenerating and emerging as a new creature–sometimes as a newborn version of itself, and sometimes as a new creature entirely. Phoenixes are where we get the cliche “rising from the ashes.”

2. Centaur

A centaur is a creature with the head, torso, and arms of a human, but the legs and body of a horse. They also come from Greek mythology, with various possible origins, all of which involve a human breeding with a horse, to confirm your fears.

fantasy creature - centaur

3. Dragon

Everyone knows what a dragon is, because there’s a version of them in every culture. This might be due to individual nations discovering the remains of dinosaurs and drawing conclusions.

An anthropologist (David E Jones) suggested that the fear of snakes is so common in humans due to an evolutionary fear recognition of dragons. That might seem like a silly assertion, but consider that it’s also very fun.

4. Selkie

Selkies are creatures that can shift from human form to the form of a seal. They come from Norse and Celtic mythology, featured in many stories and folktales.

The most popular stories involve a man finding the selkie’s skin (sometimes taking the form of a fur coat or another type of outerwear), hiding it, and forcing her to stay human and marry him (gross). Song of the Sea is an animated film featuring a selkie character.

fantasy creature - selkie

5. Griffin

Griffins are another mishmash creature, with the body of a lion and the wings and head of an eagle. Some griffins may also have eagle talons. The griffin is a powerful creature in mythology, because the lion and eagle are both seen as kings of the animal kingdom.

They appear in most tales as guards of treasure or other highly valued things. Some myths include that the griffin lays its eggs underground, and if you dig them up, you’ll find they’re surrounded by nuggets of gold. If I didn’t want people disturbing my eggs, I personally wouldn’t bury them with gold nuggets, but who am I to judge the choices of a griffin.

6. Bandersnatch

I’m including this gangly doofus because he has a specific and clear origin–Lewis Carroll. Carroll became famous for works like Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass. The first mention of the bandersnatch is in Carroll’s poem, Jabberwocky:

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun

      The frumious Bandersnatch!”

fantasy creature - bandersnatch

7. Mermaid

Everyone knows what a mermaid is because, just like the dragon, there are iterations of the mermaid myth in nearly every culture. With the tail of a fish and the torso of a human, the mermaid has found herself in countless iterations and stories. One early sighting rumor was made by the infamous bandersnatch, Christopher Columbus, who mistook manatees for mermaids.

8. Werewolf

Speaking of creatures that multiple cultures independently invented, the werewolf is a creature who shifts back and forth between a human and a wolf. The rules and circumstances of that transition depend on the story. Some werewolves can control their shift, some turn on full moons or other key times without control, some only start shifting after they’ve murdered someone to enact a curse (shoutout Vampire Diaries).

9. Dryad

The dryad is a tree spirit or nymph. Sometimes they present as ghostlike figures of women, as lively trees, or as a person made of petals or leaves that can blow through the wind and reform whenever they please (shoutout Narnia). They’re usually quiet and shy, with people only catching glimpses of them in the deep forest.

fantasy creature - dryad

10. Golem

The golem finds roots in Jewish lore. They are human-like creatures, typically presented as clunky, clumsy beings that lumber around like Frankenstein’s monster. The golem is made of clay, mud, or other earthy substances. Their underdeveloped nature is probably due to Biblical influence, where “golem” is used to reference the unfinished person in God’s eyes.

fantasy creature - golem

11. Chupacabra

The Spanish translation of “chupacabra” is “goat-sucker.” If you think that means this silly little guy sucks on goats, you’ve nailed it.

Chupacabra’s main hustle is its vampiric treatment of treasured farm friends. Some tales represent it as a furry, doggish creature, while others describe it as reptilian. While there have been sighting reports of the goat sucker all over the world, the majority originate in South and Central America.

fantasy creature - chupacabra

12. Fur-bearing trout

This is a goofy little guy you might hear about in Icelandic and American lore. It’s exactly what it sounds like–a little fishy with a fur coat. Why?

To keep warm, to be fashionable. Like most fantasy creatures, the fur-bearing trout has multiple origin stories–from the water being so cold that they rapidly evolved, to hair tonic being spilled in the river. Either way, I think he’s charming.

fantasy creature - fur-bearing trout

Do you have a favorite fantasy creature? Are you having ideas for how to create your own? Let us know in a comment!

Character Development Cheat Sheet [also printable!]

Fast track your character development in HALF the time.

Keep your characters feeling REAL and organized at the same time with a fully customizable and printable character development worksheet designed to make your characters shine!

fountain pen writing

Top Fiction Writing Prompts to Get Your Pen Moving

Fiction writing prompts, fiction writing prompts adults, fiction writing prompts high schoolers, fiction writing prompts middle schoolers, fiction writing subgenres 

51 WRITING PROMPTS TO KICKSTART YOUR NEXT GREAT STORY! 

Whether you’re a seasoned expert or a brand-new writer, using writing prompts is a great way to get your creative gears turning and start on a story. Feel free to use these prompts exactly as they are to write short exercises, or to modify them and use them as a jumping-off point for your own worlds and plot ideas! 

We’ve broken these prompts up into adult, high school, and middle school prompts, and there’s a few ways to look at them. You can stick to the prompts that much up with your age group, which might be especially helpful if you’re a new writer, to make sure you’ve got prompts with experiences relatable or relevant to you! 

You can also think of them as separate genre prompts. Maybe you’re a highschool student writing adult fiction, or you’re an adult writing middle grade. Feel free to try prompts across all age groups to see what sticks! Writing for a different age group can also be a fun exercise to flex your writing muscles, so even if you don’t typically write outside your age group, use one of these prompts to try it out. 

Without further ado, here are 51 writing prompts for adults, high schoolers, and middle schoolers! 

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Writing Prompts for Adults 

Here’s a list of 20 writing prompts for adults, or anyone writing adult fiction! 

  1. Two rival coworkers get assigned to the same hotel room during a company retreat. They think they can grin and bear it, but then they get snowed in for the weekend. Do they fall in love, or do they plot their revenge? 
  2. Fresh from college, a new graduate gets their dream job. But when they show up for their first day of work, things seem… strange. And no one will tell them what happened to the last intern. 
  3. A new renter’s upstairs neighbors won’t stop stomping around during the odd hours of the night. Fed up, the renter goes to confront them, but it turns out nobody’s living there. In fact, no one has ever rented that apartment since the building’s completion. 
  4. It’s a small town, and any scandal can ruin you forever, but that doesn’t stop a woman in an unhappy marriage from filing for divorce. To make things worse, her husband is the mayor. 
  5. Mary is a happily married woman with two kids and a dog. One night, a visitor comes to her door, claiming to be her partner’s former lover. What does the visitor want? 
  6. A recently retired lawyer receives a mysterious letter calling him to return to a beach he hasn’t visited since childhood. 
  7. Write from the perspective of an old house watching a family move in and, gradually, move out. 
  8. Two adult siblings prepare to head home for a tense holiday season–Mom’s remarried, and no one likes her new husband. 
  9. An estranged family decides to meet up for a family reunion at a ski resort deep in the mountains to reconnect. As soon as they get there, things start to go wrong. 
  10. Anthony’s never heard a sound from his next door neighbors, and when he knocks, no one is ever home. One day, all the lights are on, and the front door is wide open. What does he find? 
  11. A detective duo takes shelter from a snowstorm in a small town where there’s been a string of murders. They don’t plan to stay long, but there’s something strange about the people here. Something that makes them unfriendly and skittish. 
  12. It’s been a few hundred years since the war that ended civilization as we know it. One group of people travels from town to town playing old jazz music on scavenged instruments. Write about their journey across America. 
  13. At a company Christmas party, a worker decides to finally let her boss know everything that’s been bothering her about this job. 
  14. The new resident living in 111B has been acting strangely. Write from the perspective of the landlord inspecting the apartment when the resident’s out one weekend. 
  15. A woman gets a phone call from the same man every Friday night. Eventually, she falls in love and agrees to run away with him. When she meets him at the spot they chose, what happens? 
  16. A CEO goes on an island retreat in the hopes of brokering a deal with another company. Write the emails he sends home as he slowly goes insane. 
  17. Matt’s lived in his small town his whole life. One morning, he wakes up and realizes he’s the only person left on Earth. 
  18. Write from the perspective of a woman who decides to quit her job in the big city and work on a farm in the middle of nowhere. 
  19. Everyone thinks the king has gone mad and moves to remove him from the throne, but in truth, the king isn’t mad–his son has just convinced everyone that he is. Write from the perspective of the king as he seizes back control over his court. 
  20. One day, a man decides to move his entire family to a remote island far from the American Coast. Write from the perspective of his wife. 

Writing Prompts for High Schoolers 

Here’s a list of 16 writing prompts for high schoolers, or for anyone writing young adult fiction! 

  1. Two best friends get stood up on the night of homecoming. Instead of going home, they decide to make their own fun at the dance. 
  2. It’s the night of the big Varsity football game, and one student notices that the opposing football team has been infiltrated by vampires. 
  3. Two teenagers are head over heels and things are looking good, until one of them has to move across the country for their parents’ job. Write the letters they send each other as they try to make long-distance work. 
  4. A pair of high school sweethearts are planning to go to college together. One of them gets an acceptance letter, and the other one doesn’t. What happens next? 
  5. It’s the first day of school, and there’s a new kid in town. No one knows where he came from, and when people talk to him, something seems… strange. 
  6. There’s a new French teacher every year. A group of students decides to find out why they keep quitting, and why each new hire is stranger than the last. 
  7. A new student decides to join the Chess Club to make some friends, but finds that the students are cold and unwelcoming. They decide to stay anyway, determined to defeat them in the District Tournament. 
  8. The high school marching band has earned a perfect score at competition every year, until this year. What goes wrong? 
  9. A teenaged kid gets expelled from high school, and in the hopes of whipping them into shape, their parents send them to an old boarding school on the East Coast. There’s no cell service or Internet, and at night, the kid hears strange noises on the water. 
  10. Three friends decide to start a cryptid hunting club. They’re mostly in it for the jokes, but one night, they find something lurking in the woods near the school. 
  11. Write the diary of a teenager sent to live with her wealthy, eccentric aunt shortly after the death of her parents. 
  12. Write from the perspective of the cheerleading captain as she decides to leave the captain of the football team for the captain of the dance team. 
  13. Sadie’s best friend moved out of town when they were kids, but she’s come back for their senior year of high school. They decide to reconnect over the summer. What happens? 
  14. When a zombie outbreak strikes town, the high school students and staff are locked in the high school. What happens next? 
  15. Write the social media posts that one local teenager wrote in the leadup to their mysterious disappearance over the summer. 
  16. During a tornado drill, two students break into the principal’s office and find something neither of them could have prepared for. 

Writing Prompts for Middle Schoolers 

Here’s a list of 15 writing prompts for middle schoolers, or anyone writing children’s or middle grade fiction! 

  1. Mark’s parents take him to the pet store to get a new hamster. He picks out a cute one and brings him home, and everything seems normal. But at night, the hamster acts strange. 
  2. Write from the perspective of an alien disguised as a middle schooler, sent to pick up information from a public middle schooler and relay it to their home planet. 
  3. The middle school theater kids seize control of the entire school and issue a full lockdown.  Nobody enters, nobody leaves. What happens next? 
  4. A middle schooler wakes up one morning to discover that she’s completely invisible, even to her family. 
  5. Four childhood friends have always been told never to wander into the neighbor’s yard, and to especially stay away from the neighbor’s run-down shed. When they decide to break the rule and go searching, what do they find? 
  6. Julie’s the best volleyball player on her team until a new kid moves in and outperforms her. The new kid is better at volleyball–in fact, she’s too good. Is there something more to this kid than meets the eye? 
  7. A middle schooler makes friends with the boy across the street, but his parents won’t let him sleep over at their house. Finally, they agree to let him go for the boy’s birthday party. 
  8. Write about a middle school in a fantasy world where students are trained to ride dragons. 
  9. A kid’s dad goes missing on a work trip, and he’s pretty sure the neighbors are to blame. When none of the adults will listen to him, he takes matters into his own hands. 
  10. In this town, the citizens always elect a twelve-year-old mayor. When the mayor turns fourteen, they elect a new twelve-year-old. The newest mayor doesn’t want to give up his seat. What happens? 
  11. In this fantasy world, an immortal tree keeps the kingdom alive and strong. The princess in line to the throne notices that the tree is beginning to get sick. What’s causing the sickness, and how does she save her kingdom? 
  12. Every year, the Richards go to the same cabin for a week-long vacation, and Emily is sick of it. When they get there, Emily’s mom tells her this is the last time they’re coming to the cabin. Why? 
  13. A group of Girl Scouts discovers a secret society living in the campground mountains. The citizens of this society are kind, but they offer the Girl Scouts a choice–stay forever, or never come back. 
  14. The local middle school D&D club falls into their world, and has to survive the campaign with their friend still acting as Dungeon Master. 
  15. The principal is dragging his feet solving the series of locker thefts terrorizing the middle school. One group of kids decides to get to the bottom of things and catch the locker thief red-handed. 

With these prompts under your belt, you’re ready to get started. Happy writing! 

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