Let’s face it—writers get stuck. Some get stuck a lot. Others not so much. Still, it happens, and when it does, we deal with the situation in our own ways. I dare say, though, that writing prompts are one of the best tools to get unstuck.
Today, how about some horror writing prompts? After all, the spooky season is right around the corner.
One thing I guarantee: they will bring out your dark side. 🖤
Whether you are a horror writer or you just want to flex your creative juices, these horror writing prompts ought to send chills down your spine—which may or may not be a good thing.
Horror Writing Prompts for 2023
1. The ice cream truck
2. Hollywood screams
Pick 5 of your favorite actors and cast them as characters in a horror film.
For each, write the following:
- Their backstory. Where do they come from? What do they do for work or study? Are they rich or poor?
- What is their reaction to the situation they find themselves in? Do they get angry and fearful or do they remain calm?
- Their death or near-death scene. How do they die? If they escape, how do they do that?
3. Inside a bag
4. The bird
Write a story about a creepy bird. Start your story with “It is perched on a branch, not far from my window, watching, staring with an unfathomable black eye.”
6. The nightmare
You used to have this recurring nightmare that would wake you up screaming in the middle of the night. You haven’t had it for several years, but one night, you wake up screaming again. A few minutes later, you realize it isn’t just a nightmare. You are living the nightmare.
What is that nightmare? What happens, and how do you get back to reality?
7. The gargoyles
8. The fake monster
9. An audience
You’re alone in the house, and you want to relax. Playing the piano has always done wonders, so you play your favorite piece. When you finish, you hear a slow clap…but no one’s there when you turn around.
10. The infection
11. The elevator
You get into your building’s elevator and press 33 as you do every day after work. This time, however, more buttons suddenly keep appearing, and the 40-floor building keeps getting higher and higher. The elevator won’t stop. What happens next?
12. The willing victim
13. Water into blood
You suddenly start seeing water as blood – or at least something that looks like blood. No one else sees it, but you’re not crazy. You ARE seeing blood, and there’s a reason for it. Tell your story.
14. The doll
15. The grandfather clock
The grandfather clock has been in your family for generations and has never stopped working. On October 31, at the stroke of midnight, it suddenly starts running backward.
17. The fountain of youth
The woman had been searching for the fountain of youth for as long as she can remember. She finally found it – in the most mundane form possible. Yet she didn’t expect the terrors that came with it. No one could have foreseen how something so harmless could have such horrific aspects.
18. The phone call
19. The hobo clown
You come to with a raging hangover. As you slowly open your eyes, you realize you’re beside a dumpster in a dim alley with a hobo clown’s face right in front of you.
20. Your nightmare
21. Not costumes
You go to work and everyone is in a scary costume. You forgot it was Halloween costume day. Except that a closer look tells you that those are not costumes. People have become their costumes.
22. Stranger in your own home
You wake up and go downstairs for your morning coffee. You are surprised by a bunch of strangers sitting around the breakfast table. They are surprised by you. Apparently, you are the stranger walking around in their home. What happened?
23. Route 66
You visit a museum along the iconic Route 66. You have the time of your life, but when it is time to go, you can’t get out of town. The road keeps taking you back to the museum. What are you going to do?
You wake up one morning to find that all the mirrors in your house have been covered with thick, black curtains. As you try to uncover them, you realize that something is watching you from the other side, and it’s not your reflection.
25. The asylum
While exploring an abandoned asylum, you discover a room filled with old patient records. As you start reading them, you realize that one of the patients predicted your arrival and has left a chilling message just for you.
26. Best friend
Late at night, you receive a text message from your best friend, asking for help. The only problem is, your best friend died three years ago, and the message contains a disturbing photo of them that seems to be taken in the present.
27. The new house
You move into a new house in a quiet, picturesque town. As you settle in, you start hearing the voices of the previous owners, who seem to be trapped within the walls, desperately trying to communicate with you.
28. In the hospital
After a car accident, you wake up in a seemingly abandoned hospital with no memory of how you got there. As you explore the empty corridors, you begin to notice strange symbols on the walls, and the hospital’s dark past starts to unravel.
29. The camping trip
While on a camping trip with your friends, you stumble upon an old, decrepit cabin deep in the woods. Inside, you find a diary that details the cabin’s previous inhabitants’ descent into madness, and the horrifying events that took place within its walls.
30. Dark secrets
You’ve recently developed the ability to see people’s darkest secrets by simply looking into their eyes. One day, you lock eyes with a stranger on the subway, and you see something so unspeakably sinister that you can’t shake the feeling that they know you can see.
That’s it for now. Keep your eyes peeled for more in the future.
Horror writers, do you have your own tried and tested horror writing prompts? Can you come up with new ones that will awaken the deepest, darkest parts of our minds? Care to share them with us?