Use Writing Prompts for Ideas for Short Stories or Novels

Book Titles as Writing Prompts

Book titles are a great source of inspiration. Browse the fiction shelves of the local library and jot down titles that grab your attention and spark some interest. Just jot them all down without pausing to consider what could be done with them. Some titles may be books you’ve already read, which carries the danger that you will not escape from your memory of how another author used that title. Nevertheless, that’s a decision for later.

Once home, select the few titles that hold most appeal, take each in turn, and brainstorm ideas. What could that title signify? What is the mystery attached to it? What characters suggest themselves? Once on your way with a new novel or short story, resist the temptation to see what the book was really about. It will colour your thinking.

Change the Title

When you are well satisfied with the story you have developed, have locked characters in place, and feel that the story is yours, make it entirely yours by discarding the writing prompt title and choosing something that is totally appropriate to your new book or story.

Writing Prompt Exercise

Here are a few ‘pretend’ book titles. Select one that jumps out and says “Pick me; pick me!” Brainstorm ideas for a plot and characters – maybe even try an opening paragraph. Who knows, the characters might drive the plot all the way to the end of the book. With these pretend book titles, it is not even necessary to change the title, if the story ‘grows legs’.

  • Lethal Love
  • Litany of Death
  • Heart, Strike Back
  • Songs of Fate
  • Dance on my Coffin
  • Deep-Frozen Love
  • Sing the Crow’s Tune
  • Mary in the Middle
  • The Lion Yawns
  • Twist the Devil’s tail
  • Digital Me
  • Five-Finger Exorcism
  • Fishing in Puddles
  • The Lamplighter’s Dream
  • The Best Seat on the Horse
  • Houselights Down
  • Dollar Blight
  • Meet Me in Memphis
  • Genghis my Brother
  • The Devil’s Tale
  • Only Playing Leapfrog
  • Song of the Fates