30 Thanksgiving Writing Prompts

Posted on Nov 7, 2022

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Written by Sarah Rexford

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With the holidays coming up and Thanksgiving around the corner, the change of season inspires a new writing pace. While not everyone can keep up with their word count goals during the holiday season, it’s important to keep writing in some form.

This is where Thanksgiving writing prompts come in! Here at Self-Publishing School, we have you covered with a variety or prompts to help you use your spare minutes or longer weekends writing. Instead of having to think up ideas on your own, simply use our prompts to get you started or as inspiration for your own ideas.

Of course, with fall comes a mindset of thanks, the desire to cozy up with a great book, pumpkin carving, and some scary books or movies. We have prompts that fit each of these fall moods! Here are our top thirty Thanksgiving writing prompts:

Thanksgiving Writing Prompts

#1 – Write a short story about Thanksgiving day but your point-of-view character is a wise old turkey sharing tips on how to stay off the table during the holidays.

#2 – Compose a letter to Christopher Jones, captain of the Mayflower, sharing what this year’s Thanksgiving looks like.

#3 – Write a haiku and include the words leaves, turkey, and crisp.

#4 – Create an opening chapter to a book but the protagonist has been teleported from the first Thanksgiving to your family dinner table.

#5 – Draft a first-person narrative of the two most important aspects of your life and why you are so thankful for them.

#6 – Need to practice unique points of view? Write a poem about a leaf’s journey from the tree to the ground.

#7 – Imagine your grandfather takes you out hunting for your Thanksgiving turkey. Describe your experience.

#8 – What are you most thankful for in your writing journey thus far? Write a one-page paper explaining.

#9 – What was the last movie you watched? Write from that protagonist’s point-of-view: They go for a walk in the woods but every other sentence must include one of the five senses.

#10 – In one paragraph, describe the first Thanksgiving you remember in first-person. In a second paragraph, describe it in third-person. What storytelling differences did you pick up on? Which version did you like better?

#11 – Write a three-page short-story detailing the multiple-perspective journey of a person traveling home for the holiday: One page is from his or her point of view. One page is from the pilot’s point-of-view. One page is from his or her grandmother’s point-of-view.

#12 – Imagine you’ve never tried a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Describe your first taste in three sentences.

#13 – Write a short story about a pumpkin-carving evening gone wrong.

#14 – What’s your go-to fall accessory? Write a poem from its perspective.

#15 – Do you have a favorite fall recipe? Write a short-story with the recipe as a featured plot-point.

#20 – Describe your favorite scary movie from the villain’s point-of-view.

#21 – Tell a sensory-loaded short story about Thanksgiving but omit the sense of taste.

#22 – Write a horror story where not just leaves fall, but trees fall, every year.

#23 – Live in a state where the annual fall-back still happens? Describe your morning – but your phone doesn’t change.

#24 – Horseback riding is a great fall activity – until you find yourself lost in the woods with an early snowfall. In 500 words, write a short story with this prompt.

#25 – With one sentence per prompt, create a cohesive short story from the following:
– A girl in an oversized sweater
– A car with only three working tires
– A barista who can’t make coffee
– An overdue homework assignment
– A grandmother cooking Thanksgiving dinner

#26 – Write 150 words describing fall, but it must make sense when read with the last sentence to the first.

#27 – You are fifteen years old and watch the Mayflower reach shore and the Pilgrims disembark. What is your response?

#28 – Imagine the turkey was the national bird. Write a page explaining the go-to meat for the Thanksgiving holiday.

#29 – You’re on your way home from Thanksgiving in Washington state, car packed with leftovers, and run out of gas. There’s a foot of snow on the ground and no cars on the highway. Write 450 words describing your experience.

#30 – You’re in Hawaii for Thanksgiving this year. What new traditions do you learn?

Time to Start Writing

As you looked through these thirty writing prompts, which ones resonated with you? Which ones evoked mental images of scenes you could write? Consider starting with those prompts and moving on from there. While writers do not have the luxury of always writing inspired, when inspiration hits, it’s nice to take advantage of it.

Which writing prompts could you pair together? For instance, pair prompt #30 with #22. Do you have a family Thanksgiving meal coming up? You’re eager for the food but not sure what to say to your relatives who always ask you for a life update? Try prompt #8 and have it prepared as a talking point when needed.

Now that you have a list of Thanksgiving writing prompts, consider using a few of them to help you push through writer’s block. If you find yourself staring at a blank page, needing to write the middle of your novel but aren’t sure where to start, choose a prompt.

After you choose a prompt, put your perspective character into the prompt and use it as a new way to look at your character. While this scene likely won’t make it to your final draft, it may help you get past writer’s block and spark an idea to start your next chapter.

How To Use The Prompts

You can use Thanksgiving writing prompts for various purposes:

  • Fun writing exercises
  • As a way to spark creativity
  • A personal writing challenge
  • To get you in the Thanksgiving mood
  • Something to share with your writing group

Writing prompts are also a great way to test the ending of your novel. Readers love a surprise ending, so just to be safe, consider comparing your ending to a writing prompt.

For example, let’s say you write romance and your protagonist is zooming down from the climax to your denouement or ending. She’s returning home from a long trip out of the country and eager to see her true love again. Sounds like a happy ending, right?

To spice things up a little, try incorporating some of the tips from prompt #11 into your scene:

  • Write her arrival from her boyfriend’s point-of-view
  • Try an orbital character’s perspective on how she handles herself on the plane ride home (Why is she so excited? Who is she going to see?)
  • What does the pilot notice as she enters the plane?

Again, these prompts likely won’t (and probably shouldn’t!) make it into your final draft, but writing from various perspectives can help draw your attention to details you may otherwise miss.

And seeing as Thanksgiving is a family occasion, check out this list of prompts for kid writers to make writing time into family time!

Next Step

Enjoy using these prompts however is best for your writing goals, the time you have available, and your writing preferences! Feel free to comment on which prompt you like most, which one most challenged your writing capabilities, and any prompts we missed! For more writing prompts, grab the resource below:

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200+ Fiction Writing Prompts In the Most Profitable Genres

Come up with your NEXT great book idea with over 200 unique writing prompts spanning 8 different genres. Use for a story, scene, character inspo, and more!

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