Prompt Magazine

Text Prompts

Writing in serial form was once the way that almost all literature was consumed.  The advantage is that the author has specific control over how the reader digests the text, at least by means of availability.  Attempt to write something in a serialized form, written with the intent for it to be read over a space of time.  How does this change the writing process, or does it?  By releasing it to an audience bit by bit, do you have control over aspects of the writing that would otherwise be less controllable?  Is there a difference at all?

Prompt:  Write a story. Cut the results in half. Then double them.

Prompt:  Somewhere in your hometown, there’s an abandoned building. That’s your main character.

Prompt:  Think of a type of story you’d sooner die than write. Do it the right way. But don’t start doing it “right” until page two. Try to make the shift natural.

Prompt:  Go to your local grocery store. Watch the cheese section closely. There’s your story.

Prompt:  If you've got an idea where you've either got too many people in space too small, or not enough people in a very big space, reverse the idea. Write the same story, but put lots of people in a big space, or very few people in a very small space.

Prompt:  Make someone wonderful do something loathsome. Don't explain why, but make sure the reader clearly knows why.

Prompt:  Destroy something everyone else is defending (newspapers, for instance)

Prompt:  How far can your story safely go before you have to put a character in it?

Prompt: Construct a story backwards

Prompt: Tell a story that includes first, second, and third-person, omniscient and omniscient limited

Prompt: Give your character a defining tic or quirk and let that become the motivator throughout the story

Prompt: Write yourself into the story as a character


All Fours:

"For our fourth issues we’d like you to think about fours, and what that brings to mind. Here are some options:

  • Squares, as in nerds, geeks, spazzes, dorks, lame-Os, dweebs, utter L7 weenies. From the brilliant scientist or software designer to the simply socially inept... scientist or software designer. Or lit magazine editor.

  • There IS such a thing as a tesseract. To represent one dimension, we simply draw a straight line. To get two dimensions, we push the line away, beyond mere length; we square the line and produce a square. We now have height. For three dimension, we square the square. Push out again and we have width, a cube. For four dimensions? Square the cube, push it out again. You've got two new directions now, ana and kata, and, where once you had a cube, you now have a tesseract, the shape that defies the fourth wall. What about literature that defies the fourth wall? Pushes into new space? Many stories and poems involve exploring realms previously unimagined, sometimes unsettling, and rarely boring

  • There are four elements (water, earth, air, and fire), four great truths in Buddhism, four is the atomic number of beryllium, there are four Gospels in the Bible, there are four basic states of matter (solid, liquid, gas and plasma), and four is a homonym for death in several languages. Work with the fundamental power of four, in whatever manner that brings to mind.


We dragged up the worst of the worst---things we've ever encountered in regards to rejections of our own work, as well as others we've encountered along the way, with the idea of turning the bad into something good.  So your challenge is to transform one of these rude, catty, or ridiculous commentaries in order to make something fabulous. What if your character really DID have to burn his manuscript to stave off death? Is there a story in the tourist-trap writing business? What exactly happens when a poetry bomb explodes?  You figure out how to turn the phrase or idea into something genius, and dazzle us!

  • If he ever get's stranded in the snow, he should burn this story to keep warm
  • If we got something from Dr. Pepper, THEN I'd really be impressed
  • Ditto. We're not his poetry toilet.
  • SPAM? Maybe SPAM. Download at your own risk, dear readers. God, I hope this guy isn't for real.
  • It took me right back to high school, so I hate it.
  • Can we just accept the cover letter?
  • Holy page limit. This thing is long. Where would we put it?
  • I get it, and I think there is a very strong market for this in tourist trap shops all over Florida
  • No. For all the reasons already mentioned, and because It rhymes terribly too much.
  • What? Wow. So, I am going to vote no for reasons I think we all understand.
  • Poetry bomb.
  • Yeesh.
  • This poem makes me hate poetry.
  • Has he considered writing for the greeting card industry?
  • Maybe she could publish this in the yearbook, assuming they need filler.

The Post-Apocalyptic Genre:

In a post-modern world, the post-apocalyptic potentiality is one that has infiltrated popular literature.  From Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale  to the recently popular Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, from Stephen King’s The Stand to choose-your-own zombie adventures, the genre has a rabid following and an equally fascinated following of writers who are interested in the “after.”  

After what exactly varies from one cataclysmic event to another, be it war, disease, a failure of technology, or more—the possibilities are endless.  Unlike some sub-genres that get lumped into another category (like Science fiction or urban fantasy,) the post-apocalyptic transcends easy definition and moves from sci-fi to fantasy to the realistic fiction to horror. 

Challenge yourself to the genre, whether it be fiction, poetry, creative noon-fiction or something outside of the conventional.

Example of post-apocalyptic fiction (in serial form):

Post-apocalyptic poetry:

Editorial Favorite:

Links to more on the post-apocalyptic forms:


Haiku is a form of poetry that originated in the Japanese culture. Haiku can be about any subject and generally uses simple words to convey a picture or meaning.

Commonly, Haiku is written in three short lines. The first line containing five (5) syllables, the second line seven (7) syllables, and the third line contains five (5) syllables.

Haiku Example

Calling - by C. Blew

Warrior of Souls
Joining with Muse and Artist
Comfort one by one

More on Haiku



The prompt literary magazine is a biannual online magazine that publishes creative work that reflects experimental and traditional work based on writing prompts and exercises.

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