Writing Prompts

News 4 Feb 2021

Are you ready to kick-start your creativity?

Each weekday morning this February as part of First Stages Festival, we're going to share a writing prompt to help you experiment, explore and challenge your writing.

This page will be updated as new prompts become available. We'll also share the prompts on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.

  1. Free-write for three minutes - whatever spills out of your head, don’t think too much. Pick the most interesting phrase from that free-write and write a 10 line monologue inspired by the phrase.
  2. Write down 5 things you saw today, even if it’s only within your own house - go into detail, far more detail than usual. What feelings does it bring up? Reconnect to how you see things.
  3. Your character has a problem. The worst kind. And this is the day it’s all coming to a head. In five minutes, actually. What do they want to tell us?
  4. Record yourself on your phone telling a story. Play it back - listen to your voice. What makes your voice uniquely yours? How can that translate onto the page?
  5. Who is the most boring person you’ve ever met? What secret are they holding? If they could safely tell the audience, what would they say?
  6. Time can take whatever shape you want on stage - it can go backwards, or at high speed, or a second can explode open and last an hour. So, which one will it be?
  7. Think of someone you know who has really changed. How? What’s the biggest change someone can go through? Write a scene/monologue.
  8. Shame - something a character wouldn’t be happy to say out loud.
  9. Two characters are stuck in a room - one wants out, the other wants them to stay. They start having a casual chat. What are they talking about?
  10. Google the artists Carrie Mae Weems, Francis Bacon and Nan Goldin. Choose one of their artworks. Write a monologue using it as a starting point.
  11. Imagine a group of people speaking as one. Why are they speaking? Why do they need to speak in a group?
  12. Think of someone in your life who’s distinct personality shows up in their voice - how does it show up? Be really detailed in working out what makes them so specific. Can you write 5 lines in their distinct voice?
  13. Instead of doom scrolling, find the next Tweet/post that has a piece of new information on it. Research that information in depth - find articles related to it, get interested in something you don’t know about.
  14. Your character has to perform a dance routine in public in 5 days time. Why? How are they feeling about it?
  15. What is something really every-day in your life that you’ve never seen on stage? Write a scene with it as the focus.
  16. Think of a feeling you want to express - what form would this feeling suit? If it’s stress, maybe fragmented scenes, with short, sharp words? If it’s elation, is it words that tumble out in a massive speech? If it’s loneliness - a single voice speaking with no reply?
  17. Write a monologue that starts with a long silence.
  18. Pick someone you know. Imagine them 20 years older, or 20 years younger. What do they want? What’s stopping them from getting it?
  19. A person has done a terrible thing about ten minutes ago - they’ve just walked into work and are trying to act normal to their colleagues. Write this scene.
  20. Think of something political you’d like to say. Now think of a popular theatrical form (like panto, pop song, ceilidh, music video). What happens when you combine the two?

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